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'US-led copter shot down, 33 killed'|
Thu Nov 24, 2011
A helicopter operated by the US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan (file photo)
Taliban militants say they have shot down a helicopter operated by the US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in the troubled eastern Afghanistan, Press TV reported.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the militants successfully targeted the helicopter on Thursday in the Qarabagh district of Kabul Province, and all 33 foreign troops on board were killed in the incident.
However, ISAF dismissed the Taliban's claim, saying a mechanical failure forced the helicopter to make an emergency landing.
The Western military alliance added that all the crewmembers were rescued and there were no casualties in the incident.
In another incident, thirty-one US special operation troops and seven Afghan commandos were killed when their CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed in the early hours of August 6 in Afghanistan's eastern province of Wardak.
The Taliban claimed they downed the helicopter with rocket fire while it was taking part in an attack on a house where militants had gathered.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai made the first announcement of the number of people killed in the crash and the presence of US special operations troops.
US President Barack Obama also commented on the crash.
"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," Obama said in a statement.
According to official figures released by the website icasualties.org, a total of 534 foreign troops have lost their lives in war-battered Afghanistan so far this year.
Last year, nonetheless, remains the deadliest year for foreign military casualties with a death toll of 711. The number eclipsed the previous record of 521 set in 2009.
The increasing number of military casualties in Afghanistan has caused widespread anger in the US and other NATO member states, undermining public support for the Afghan war.