Two U.S. service members are dead after their helicopter crashed in Afghanistan.
The crash occurred Wednesday, but it is still unclear where in the country it happened, what type of helicopter was involved, and the exact circumstances of the incident.
A Taliban spokesperson said the helicopter was shot down as Afghan and U.S. forces were preparing to launch an attack in the area, but officials with U.S. Forces Afghanistan said that the chopper doesn’t appear to have been downed by enemy fire, and the incident is under investigation.
Information on how many people were on board the helicopter at the time it crashed is also unavailable. The names of those killed are expected to be released in the coming days, pending next-of-kin notifications.
So far this year, at least 16 U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan, the deadliest year for combat troops in the country since the end of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2014, when the combat mission in the country formally ended.
In 2018, 13 service members were killed. In 2017, 11 were killed, following nine in 2016, and 10 in 2015. About 40 service members were killed in 2014 while the combat mission was still underway.
Around 14,000 U.S. military personnel still remain in Afghanistan. Many are working to provide support to Afghan troops still battling the Taliban.