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Jan 19,2012 CH-53 shot down in Afghanastan- 6 Marines dead

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  • Jan 19,2012 CH-53 shot down in Afghanastan- 6 Marines dead

    Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Allied forces have suffered a day of heavy losses in Afghanistan in a helicopter crash that killed 6 U.S. Marines and an attack that killed four French service members and raised the prospect of France withdrawing its troops early.

    The Marines died after their CH 53 helicopter crashed in Helmand province, a U.S. military official said. The NATO-led force reported no enemy activity in the area, but the Taliban claimed credit for bringing down the copter.

    Separately, an Afghan soldier killed four French service members and injured 15 others, one critically, in eastern Afghanistan, French officials said. French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he was suspending French training operations and combat help as a result.

    "The French army is not in Afghanistan to be shot at by Afghan soldiers," he said.

    NATO helicopter crash kills six
    France could bring its troops back early from Afghanistan if the necessary security is not restored, Sarkozy said. France has 3,935 troops in Afghanistan, according to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.

    Sarkozy will send French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet to Afghanistan, he said.

    "It was during a training session inside the base that a shooter killed four of our soldiers. This is unacceptable and demands a full investigation," Longuet said.

    A French official told CNN the French troops were unarmed as they were inside their base, conducting normal training operations with their Afghan partners.

    The official, who was not authorized to speak to the media, said 15 soldiers were injured.

    The attack follows a similar shooting last month by an Afghan soldier that killed two French soldiers serving in an engineers' regiment, also in eastern Afghanistan.

    Friday's suspected shooter, who was a member of the Afghan National Army (ANA), has been apprehended, according to an ISAF statement.

    Responding to the shooting last month, Sarkozy stressed his country's "determination to continue working within the International Security Assistance Force to restore peace and stability in that country and contribute to its development."

    NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen paid tribute to those killed and injured Friday, saying it was a "very sad day" for ISAF troops in Afghanistan and for France.

    "Such tragic incidents are terrible and grab headlines, but they are isolated," he said. "The reality is that every day, 130,000 ISAF troops from 50 nations fight and train with over 300,000 Afghan soldiers. That takes a lot of trust among a lot of soldiers.

    "We have the same goal. An Afghanistan that is responsible for its own security. That is what Afghans want. And we remain committed to helping Afghans."

    ISAF spokesman Lt. Col. Jimmie Cummings also played down the threat, saying, "We train and are partnered with Afghan personnel every day, and we are not seeing any issues or concerns with our relationships."

    Friday's shooting was the latest in a series of attacks on NATO forces by members of the Afghan army.

    In October, a gunman wearing an Afghan army uniform turned his weapon on coalition forces during training, killing three and wounding several others. The shooter was killed in the incident in southern Afghanistan.

    Meanwhile, the cause of the helicopter crash, which happened around midnight Kabul time (2:30 p.m. ET Thursday), is still under investigation, ISAF said.

    There was no enemy activity in the area when the helicopter went down in Helmand, said Col. Gary Kolb, an ISAF spokesman.

    The Taliban claimed responsibility Friday for bringing down the helicopter.

    Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, told CNN via text message: "A Chinook was shot down in Zubair Karez area, between Musa Qala and Zamin Dawar in southern Helmand province, and a number of foreigners traveling in it were killed."

    NATO is scheduled to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

    Many ISAF members are involved in missions to train and support Afghan forces as they prepare to take on greater security responsibilities.

    CNN's Nic Paton Walsh, Saskya Vandoorne, Masoud Popalzai, Pierre Meilhan, Barbara Starr, Mitra Mobasherat and Adam Levine contributed to this report.

  • #2
    Re: Jan 19,2012 CH-53 shot down in Afghanastan- 6 Marines dead

    Sounds like the French want to show up until someone shoots at them. Just my take after thinking a short time.Very Very short time. God Look over ALL those who are there to protect. Amen!