Another seven American soldiers lost their lives in Afghanistan Thursday, along with their Afghan interpreter and three Afghan soldiers.
The Americans died on Thursday in Kandahar Province in southern Afghanistan when their Black Hawk helicopter crashed, according to the American-led military command.
Taliban quickly claimed they downed the U.S. chopper but American officials said there was no indication of enemy fire as yet. The Black Hawk crashed near Shah Wali Kot around 10 a.m. officials said.
Americans declined to identify the type of unit to which the soldiers killed in the crash on Thursday had been assigned however NATO command said three of them were part of United States Forces-Afghanistan, a separate force from the main NATO force, according to a Fox News report.
Maj. Martyn Crighton of the Army, a spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command in Kabul, said the cause of the crash is under investigation.
“Currently, there is no operational reporting that indicates the helicopter was brought down by enemy fire,” Major Crighton said, adding “it is far too early in the investigation to make any definitive statement about what caused the accident.” He said everyone on board was killed.
Earlier Taliban claims that its fighters in the Shah Wali Kot district had shot down a Chinook helicopter on Wednesday with a rocket-propelled grenade, killing 33 American soldiers who were flying overhead in support of a night raid on houses in the area, was determined to be false.
Major Crighton denied any NATO helicopter crashed on Wednesday, according to reports.
President Obama has already publicly announced an approximate U.S. withdrawal schedule, after increasing U.S. troop strength dramatically over two years. There are approximately 80,000 U.S. troops fighting in Afghanistan.
Despite the Obama surge in troop strength, a recent sharp increase in American deaths have dimmed prospects for Mr. Obama's publicized withdrawal being successful in leaving a stable Afghan government after a decade of war.
Mr. Obama has been criticized for announcing U.S. withdrawal plans publicly so that Taliban know in advance what to plan for.
At least 1,961 Americans have died in the war in Afghanistan; more than two-thirds of those deaths occurred since President Barack Obama doubled U.S. troop strength in 2009.