A US military helicopter crashed while returning from the scene of a firefight with suspected Taliban drug traffickers in western Afghanistan, killing 10 Americans including three DEA agents in a little noticed but expanding war within a war.
Four more troops were killed Monday when two helicopters collided over southern Afghanistan, making it the deadliest day for US forces in this country in more than four years.
US military officials insisted neither crash was believed a result of hostile fire, although the Taliban claimed they shot down a US helicopter in the western province of Badghis. The US did not say where in western Afghanistan its helicopter went down, and no other aircraft were reported missing.
The second crash took place when two US Marine helicopters - a UH-1 and an AH-1 Cobra - collided in flight before sunrise over the southern province of Helmand, killing four American troops and wounding two more, Marine spokesman Maj. Bill Pelletier said.
The casualties marked the Drug Enforcement Administration's first deaths since it began operations here in 2005.