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Afghan, US forces battled insurgents; 30 Americans, 8 Afghans killed

08-08-2011 08:23 BJT

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Afghan and US forces battled insurgents on Sunday in the region where the Taliban shot down a US Army Chinook helicopter a day earlier. 30 Americans and 8 Afghans were killed in Saturday's crash, making it the deadliest single loss for US forces in the decade-long war in Afghanistan.

The fighting broke out as NATO began an operation to recover the remains of the large transport helicopter that was shot down by insurgents in Wardak province, about 97 kilometers southwest of Kabul.

The Rangers, a special operations force which works regularly with the SEALs, secured the crash site afterwards.

A local villager confirmed the fighting and described the crash.

Resident Joy Zarin Village said, "Around 2:30 a.m. the American helicopter came and was flying very low over Joy Zarin village. It was hit by the Taliban and then it crashed and caught fire. We were not able to come out during the night because Americans were around. In the morning we saw the American bodies and they moved the bodies towards the road side and then moved them by helicopters."

FILE - US soldiers from the 2nd Brigade, 87th Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain
Division, secure the area after existing a Chinoonk helicopter, Helmand Province,
southern Afghanistan, in this Sunday, June 18, 2006 file photo.

A Wardak provincial spokesman confirmed the helicopter recovery mission was under way and said there were reports of Taliban casualties overnight.

The downing of the helicopter Saturday was a heavy setback for the US-led coalition as it begins to draw down thousands of combat troops fighting what has become an increasingly costly and unpopular war.

Of the 30 Americans killed, 22 were Navy SEALs, three were Air Force combat controllers, one was a dog handler and four were crew members.

Most of the SEALs belonged to the same elite unit that killed Osama bin Laden, although they were not the same people who participated in the May raid into Pakistan that killed the al-Qaida leader.

The deaths bring to 369 the number of coalition troops killed this year in Afghanistan, with 46 having occurred this month.


Editor:Zhang Jingya |Source: CNTV.CN

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