Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

U.S. Black Hawk crashes in fight in Afghanistan

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KABUL, Afghanistan -- A U.S. military helicopter crashed during a firefight with insurgents in a remote area of southern Afghanistan on Thursday, killing seven Americans and four Afghans in one of the deadliest air disasters of a war now into its second decade. The Taliban claimed they gunned down the Black Hawk.

American service personnel in Afghanistan are dying at a rate of about one per day so far this year despite a drawdown of troops. That death rate has risen recently with the summer fighting season in full gear and a rash of attacks by Afghan security forces on their foreign trainers and partners.

NATO forces said they could not confirm what caused Thursday's crash and stressed it was still being investigated. The Black Hawk was operating in support of an ongoing assault on the ground but initial indications were that it was not shot down, according to U.S. officials who spoke anonymously because the investigation was continuing.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 17, 2012 A20

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