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All For What?

DEA agents among 14 Americans dead in Afghanistan

A U.S. military helicopter crashed Monday 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 not-so-noticed war within a war.

Fourmore troops were killed when two helicopters collided over southernAfghanistan, making it the deadliest day for U.S. forces in thiscountry in more than four years.

U.S. military officials insisted neither crash was believed a result of hostile fire, although the Talibanclaimed they shot down a U.S. helicopter in the western province ofBadghis. The U.S. did not say where in western Afghanistan itshelicopter went down, and no other aircraft were reported missing.

The second crash took place when two U.S. 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. Afghanistan is the world’s largest producer of opium — the raw ingredient in heroin — and the illicit drug trade is a major source of funding for insurgent groups.



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