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Insurgents shot down a NATO Chinook in eastern Afghanistan on Friday night, killing everyone aboard, a military official said according to the New York Times.30 eight died in the crash, including 25 Navy SEALs, a 5-member American helicopter crew, 1 American interpreter, seven Afghan special forces troops and a dog, according to ABC.
The Taliban claimed credit for the attack.
This is thought to be the deadliest attack ever on Americans in Afghanistan, while U.S. casualties in Afghanistan are also up 15 per cent this year, IED attacks are at an all-time high and military hospitals are full. It comes at a time when America is preparing to drawdown troops.
The helicopter was part of a night raid on a militant safe house in the Tangi valley of the Wardak Province just west of Kabul. It was shot down with a rocket-propelled grenade during a two-hour firefight.
Here is Obama’s statement on the attack:
“My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of the Americans who were lost earlier today in Afghanistan. Their deaths are a reminder of the extraordinary sacrifices made by the men and women of our military and their families, including all who have served in Afghanistan. We will draw inspiration from their lives, and continue the work of securing our country and standing up for the values that they embodied. We also mourn the Afghans who died alongside our troops in pursuit of a more peaceful and hopeful future for their country. At this difficult hour, all Americans are united in support of our men and women in uniform who serve so that we can live in freedom and security.”
A statement from Secretary of defence Leon Panetta:
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of many outstanding Americans in uniform and of their Afghan counterparts earlier today in Afghanistan. Their courage was exemplary, as was their determination to make this a safer world for their countries and for their fellow citizens. We will stay the course to complete that mission, for which they and all who have served and lost their lives in Afghanistan have made the ultimate sacrifice. They and their families are in my thoughts, in my prayers and in my heart.”
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