Afghan Insurgents Down US Helicopter
October 27, 2008
KABUL, Afghanistan - Insurgents shot down a U.S. helicopter after exchanging fire with its crew in central Afghanistan today, officials said.
The helicopter was forced down in Wardak, one province west of Kabul, after insurgents hit it with gunfire, said Lt. Cmdr. Walter Matthew, a U.S. military spokesman. The crew survived and have been extracted from the area, he said.
"The helicopter crew exchanged fire with the enemy before the damage brought the helicopter down," Matthews said. Coalition troops secured the area and "are in the process of recovering" the helicopter, he said.
At least four militants were killed in the exchange, said Fazel Karim Muslim, the chief of Sayed Abad district.
Wardak province has seen an increase in insurgent activity the last two years, and its main highway is now extremely risky to travel on, particularly at night. In mid-October, a U.S. Special Forces raid freed a kidnapped American working for the Army Corps of Engineers who had been held by his captors in Wardak for two months.
The U.S. and other foreign forces rely heavily on helicopters for transportation around Afghanistan, which is covered by rough mountains and long stretches of desert and has few decent roads.
Insurgents rarely bring down military helicopters, though they have hit several in recent years.
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