KABUL, Afghanistan — Five U.S. soldiers were killed Sunday when their Chinook military helicopter crashed in the mountains of southern Afghanistan, the U.S. military said.
The helicopter came down southwest of Dai Chopan, a mountainous district of Zabul Province and one of the most turbulent areas of the country, where groups of Taliban militants have continued their insurgency. The chief spokesman for the American-led forces in Afghanistan, Col. James Yonts, said there had been no reports of hostile fire, but in comments to news services, a Taliban spokesman, Abdul Latif Hakimi, said the Taliban had shot the helicopter down.
In June, a Chinook carrying special forces and members of the Navy Seals was brought down by insurgents, killing all 16 on board.
The Chinook that crashed Sunday was flying with two Black Hawk helicopters and another Chinook, ferrying soldiers and supplies into the mountains. The crash occurred on the way back to base, in a remote area, far away from the area of operations. None of the accompanying helicopters reported seeing any flash or trail of a missile, nor did they take any small arms fire, Yonts said, and the crew had reported no attacks or other trouble. But he said there was still a possibility that the helicopter had been struck. Soldiers had reached the crash site and an investigation would begin, he said.