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thedrifter
06-30-05, 10:21 AM
17 US marines killed in Afghanistan
NDTV Correspondent
Thursday, June 30, 2005 (Kabul):


The United States has stepped up military activity in Afghanistan, spurred by a resilient insurgency that includes al-Qaeda terrorists and rebels associated with the former Taliban government.

The renewed fighting led to the shooting down of a Chinook helicopter carrying elite SEAL commandos on Tuesday. Seventeen US marines were killed in that attack. Officials fear none of the troops on board made it.

Transport aircraft hit

The aircraft was transporting the men during Operating Red Wing, an anti guerilla mission against al-Qaeda fighters.

Afghan officials fear many terror operatives had slipped in from the Kunar province, backed by remnants of the Taliban from across the Pakistan border.

The Taliban claims it shot the aircraft down using a "new type of weapon."

The site of the crash is very high. I don't think people have been able to reach the site. I think all 20 Americans on board were killed. No one will be alive," said Akber Shah, an eyewitness.

Renewed violence

20,000 troops most of them American have been pursuing militants in Afghanistan for the past three and a half years. Tuesday's crash is the deadliest incident for US troops since their invasion in October 2001.

The military denies suggestions of a recent increase in violence.

"I cannot tell you that it has been worse or that it's better than before, it's not true. It remains the same. The danger about terrorism is that it can strike at any time and in any place," said Colonel Jim Yonts, Spokesman, US Military.

Yet over 29 servicemen have died in renewed fighting in the past three months.

The nation prepares for elections in September and the 8,300-strong NATO-led peacekeeping force says it will add another 3,000 soldiers to its ranks.

Yet most acknowledge securing Afghanistan remains unfinished business.


Ellie