KABUL, Afghanistan, Aug. 6 (UPI) — A U.S. military helicopter carrying 31 Americans and seven Afghans crashed late Friday in eastern Afghanistan, killing all aboard, the government said.
A statement from President Hamid Karzai’s office in Kabul said the Chinook helicopter went down in the province of Warduk, CNN reported.
In the statement, Karzai expressed “his sympathy and deep condolences to U.S. President Barack Obama and the family of the victims,” the British broadcaster said.
NATO acknowledged the crash and said it was investigating, but offered no details.
The BBC said the military passengers were members of special forces who had been on a counter-insurgency mission in which eight Taliban militants were killed.
The Taliban issued a statement claiming responsibility for shooting down the helicopter, although neither Afghan nor NATO officials would verify the claim.
The crash is the largest single loss of life for U.S. troops in Afghanistan since the 2001 military intervention began.
More than 2,600 U.S. soldiers have died in the conflict, Defense Department statistics show.