The NATO-led international military coalition has reported that 11 people, including seven American troops, were killed in a fiery helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan Thursday.
The cause of the crash, which Afghan authorities said was in the Shah Wali Kot district of the southern province of Kandahar, was under investigation, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a statement.
“The crash resulted in the deaths of four International Security Assistance Force service members, three United States Forces-Afghanistan service members, three members of the Afghan National Security Forces, and one Afghan civilian interpreter,” ISAF said.
The Washington Post reports the crash was the deadliest single incident in weeks for foreign troops in Afghanistan where the radical Islamist Taliban movement has been waging a guerrilla war against the Afghan government and tens of thousands of NATO and US troops.
While members of the Taliban were quick to claim responsibility for the downed aircraft, a UH-60 Black Hawk, correspondents say the group is prone to exaggeration and will often falsely take credit for any incident involving the death of foreign troops.
Six other helicopter crashes involving Operation Enduring Freedom, the official name for the US operation in Afghanistan, occurred this year, according to a CNN count.
Sixteen Americans died in five crashes: six died in January, four in April, and two each in May, June, and July. Four of the crashes occurred in Afghanistan and one in Oman.
The war’s deadliest single incident for US troops came a year ago when insurgents shot down a Chinook helicopter in Wardak province, killing all 38 aboard, including 30 Americans, some of whom were elite Navy SEALs.