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Monday, August 8, 2011

Chinook Down in Afghanistan War's Deadliest Single Incident -- 38 Dead

Reuters reports the tragic news:

NATO tried to determine on Sunday if Taliban insurgents had shot down a troop-carrying helicopter in Afghanistan, killing 38 in the largest loss of life suffered by foreign forces in a single incident in 10 years of war.

In a bloody two days for foreign forces, another four NATO troops were killed in two separate attacks on Sunday by insurgents in the country's violent east and south, the coalition said.

The majority of foreign troops serving in those regions are American, although some French troops are also based in volatile Kapisa province in the east.

The French president's office in Paris said two French soldiers were killed and five wounded when they were attacked by insurgents in Kapisa's remote Tagab valley. There was no immediate confirmation of the nationalities of the other two.

"The head of state expresses again France's determination to continue to work with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to restore peace and stability in this country and contribute to its development," the president's office said in a statement.

Thirty U.S. soldiers -- some from the Navy's special forces SEAL Team 6, the unit that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden -- seven Afghans and an interpreter died in Friday night's crash, just two weeks after foreign troops began a security handover to Afghan forces.

The Taliban quickly claimed responsibility for bringing down the helicopter with a rocket-propelled grenade. Although it often exaggerates incidents involving foreign troops, a U.S. official in Washington said the helicopter was believed to have been shot down.

The bit of uncertainty in the Reuters report has since been cleared up with confirmation of the Taliban's involvement in the helicopter crash. Monday morning, another Chinook crashed in Afghanistan, although officials say there were no casualties and no Taliban activity in the area at the time.

Those of you who support the troops: how many more have to die in Afghanistan's civil war between warring tribes (and that's what this is now)? How many more have to die in a foreign civil war after we have already killed or captured most of Al Qaeda, including Osama bin Laden? How many, until we finally bring them home and out of harm's way?

Support the Troops. Bring them home!

Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
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