June 29, 2005

All 17 troops believed killed in Afghan crash- U.S.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - All 17 U.S. troops aboard anAmerican helicopter are now believed to have died when theaircraft crashed on Tuesday after being hit by ground fire inAfghanistan, a U.S. official said on Wednesday.

"We presume that all were lost," the official, who askednot to be identified, told Reuters when asked if all of thoseaboard -- including elite U.S. Seals Special Operations troops-- had apparently been killed in the crash.

The official repeated statements by the U.S. military thatthe CH-47 Chinook helicopter was believed to have been hit by arocket-propelled grenade in mountainous terrain near the borderwith Pakistan.

The twin-rotor Chinook crashed in remote and mountainousKunar province on Tuesday afternoon while bringing troops toreinforce soldiers on the ground carrying out an anti-al Qaedaoperation, according to the U.S. military in Afghanistan.