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US copter crash: Afghans now fear global war on terror will be prolonged

Kabul , Mon, 08 Aug 2011 ANI

Kabul, Aug.8 (ANI): Afghans see Friday's helicopter crash in which 38 American soldiers, including 22 Navy Seal personnel died, as a sign that the global war against terrorism could drag on for a long time.


For most Afghans, the incident confirms their suspicions that NATO-led forces have yet to reverse the Taliban's momentum.


"It is another big sign that indicates continuous fighting in Afghanistan. That the Taliban can now shoot down a helicopter shows that they are getting more capable," the Christian Science Monitor quoted Mirajudin Ahmadzai, a tribal elder in Nangarhar province, as saying.


US military officials say they are still investigating the incident, but it appears that the Taliban may have shot down the Chinook helicopter on Saturday east of Kabul in Wardak province.


The magnitude of the loss will be felt hard by the special forces community - there are approximately 2,500 Navy Seals in the US military and only a few hundred make it to SEAL Team 6.


The deaths also constitute about 10 percent of all American fatalities in Afghanistan this year.


The Taliban has claimed responsibility for downing the helicopter.


Zabiullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Islamist organization said fighters used a shoulder-launched, anti-aircraft missile to shoot down the helicopter.


According to Mujahid, the fighters did not know the significance of their target.


Throughout the course of the war in Afghanistan, 101 helicopters have crashed, 17 of which were downed by hostile fire. The significance of this latest incident is likely to serve as a major propaganda coup for the Taliban.


Hakim Bashirat, a resident of Kabul, who is originally from Wardak, said: "Foreign forces and the Afghan government will increase their military operations out there, which will cause many problems for the local residents of Wardak."


"Foreign people will never bring security to us until our police and our army do their part," says Roshanak Wardak, a former member of parliament from Wardak who now directs a hospital there.


He added: "We should be involved in this. There is no need for foreigners to go to the villages and kill the people." (ANI)


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