A U.S. CH-47 Chinook military transport helicopter crashed in eastern Afghanistan Tuesday, while bringing reinforcements into an area where U.S. forces have been fighting Taliban rebels. A U.S. military official said 16 personnel were aboard, including three crew members.
The helicopter went down in a mountainous area, with wreckage and debris apparently rolling downhill from the impact site. An Army spokesman also suggested that some casualties may have resulted on the ground from the moving wreckage.
Afghan officials said the Chinook helicopter was hit by a rocket, but a US military statement said it was not known what caused the crash in Kunar province near the Pakistani border. Purported Taliban spokesman Mullah Latif Hakimi called The AP before news of the crash was made public and claimed that the rebels shot it down.
Later today President Bush is scheduled to address the American people and outline his strategy for winning the conflict in Iraq. He will speak from a large military base in the southern U.S. state of North Carolina.