Black Hawk Helicopter Crash Near Taliban Stronghold Kills 11

Seven American soldiers were among casualties in crash in southern Afghanistan; Taliban claims responsibility.

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A Black Hawk helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan killed 11 people, including seven American troops, the Associated Press reports.

The helicopter was shot down in Kandahar province, a volatile Taliban stronghold near the border of Pakistan. Insurgents claimed responsibility for the crash, though NATO coalition spokesman Brig. Gen. Gunter Katz would not comment on that claim, saying only that coalition would investigate the crash independently.

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Among the crash's casualties were seven American soldiers, three Afghan security force members, and one Afghan civilian interpreter. Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi claimed Taliban fighters shot the Black Hawk down.

"Nobody survived this," Ahmadi told the AP.

The crash is the latest in a bloody week for U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Saturday, men dressed in Afghan security force uniforms shot and killed six American soldiers. The Black Hawk crash brings death total for Americans in Afghanistan to 26 thus far in August.

Thursday's crash is also the deadliest since March, when a Turkish helicopter crashed into a house near Kabul, killing 16, including 12 Turkish soldiers.

The NATO force in Afghanistan uses Black Hawks and other helicopters to move troops and supplies around the rugged Afghan countryside, thereby avoiding roadside explosives and ambushes. Insurgents often claim responsibility for helicopter crashes, but often they are a result of mechanical failure or weather interference.

Seth Cline is a reporter with U.S. News and World Report. Contact him at scline@usnews.com or follow him on Twitter.