Monday, October 26, 2009

Wire: 14 Americans Killed in Afghanistan

Off the Wire
A university student (left) kicks a burning effigy of President Barack Obama at a demonstration in front of the Afghan Parliament in Kabul, Afghanistan on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2009. Hundreds of Afghans shouted anti-U.S. slogans and burned an effigy of Obama during a rally to protest a rumor that U.S. forces had bombed a mosque and burned a copy of the Koran.

Off the Wire:

At least 46 U.S. troops killed in October.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 26, 2009 -- Newswire services this morning reported that a helicopter crash and separate collision involving two other choppers killed 14 Americans on Monday in one of the deadliest days for U.S. troops in the war in Afghanistan, the U.S. military said.

The Associated Press said in the first crash, a helicopter went down in the west of the country after leaving the scene of a firefight with insurgents, killing 10 Americans -- seven troops and three civilians working for the government. Eleven American troops, one U.S. civilian and 14 Afghans were also injured.

AP noted that in a separate incident in the south, two other U.S. choppers collided while in flight, killing four American troops and wounding two more, the military said.
U.S. authorities have ruled out hostile fire in the collision but have not given a cause for the other fatal crash in the west. Taliban spokesman Qari Yusuf Ahmedi claimed Taliban fighters shot down a helicopter in northwest Badghis province's Darabam district. It was impossible to verify the claim and unclear if he was referring to the same incident.

U.S. forces also reported the death of two other American troops a day earlier: one in a bomb attack in the east, and another who died of wounds sustained in an insurgent attack in the same region. The deaths bring to at least 46 the number of U.S. troops who have been killed in October.
In Washington, Obama is set to meet yet again with his national security team today in what is to be the sixth full-scale Afghanistan conference in the White House Situation Room.

Also Monday, Abdullah called for election commission chairman Azizullah Lodin to be replaced within five days, saying he has "no credibility."
On Sunday, Karzai and Abdullah both ruled out a power-sharing deal before the runoff, saying the second round of balloting must be held as planned to bolster democracy in this war-ravaged country.

Meanwhile, security forces in Kabul fired automatic rifles into the air for a second day Monday to contain hundreds of stone-throwing university students angered over the alleged desecration of Islam's holy book, the Quran, by U.S. troops during an operation two weeks ago in Wardak province. Fire trucks were also brought in to push back protesters with water cannons. Police said several officers were injured in the mayhem.

U.S. and Afghan authorities have denied any such desecration and insist that the Taliban are spreading the rumor to stir up public anger. The rumor has sparked similar protests in Wardak and Khost provinces.

On Sunday, the students in the capital burned Obama in effigy and chanted slogans such as "down with Americans, down with Israel" as they marched from Kabul University to the parliament building, where riot police turned them back.
(Report from newswire sources.)

Source: 14 Americans killed in 2 Afghan helicopter crashes

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