KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Insurgents exchanged fire with U.S. troops aboard a Black Hawk helicopter in central Afghanistan on Monday before the aircraft was hit and forced to land. The crew was rescued, but in the north a suicide bomber killed two U.S. soldiers.
At least four militants were killed in the exchange, said Fazel Karim Muslim, the chief of Sayed Abad district. Another helicopter hovered as the U.S. troops secured the area around the downed chopper, which didn't appear to sustain major damage, Muslim said.
Also Monday, a suicide bomber wearing a police uniform blew himself up at a police station in northern Afghanistan, killing two American soldiers and wounding five other people, including an American, officials said. The bomber entered a police station in Pul-e-Khumri, capital of Baghlan province, while Afghan officials were meeting with U.S. troops advising a police training program, provincial police chief Gen. Abdul Rahman Sayed Kheil said.
The blast killed two American soldiers who had been beside a beige Humvee, AP Television News footage of the blast scene showed. It was not immediately clear if the bomber was a policeman or just wearing the police uniform.
Zabiullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, claimed responsibility for the blast in a phone call to an Associated Press reporter. Mujahid said the bomber's name was Abdul Had and that he was from Baghlan province.
Militants in Afghanistan have in the past disguised themselves in police or army uniforms when attacking Afghan and foreign troops. But actual policemen in the Afghan force were responsible for at least two recent attacks in eastern Afghanistan in which two U.S. soldiers died after police opened fire on them.
NATO's top commander in Afghanistan, U.S. Gen. David McKiernan, said he is tired of negative headlines and what he sees as a wave of unwarranted pessimism in news reports. "Somebody likes to report an attack somewhere and that becomes the trend in Afghanistan, or they don't report the positive events or the absolute brutality or the illegitimacy of the Taliban. We are not losing Afghanistan," McKiernan told The Associated Press in an interview Sunday.
When the military starts complaining about its cover-up mouthpieces in the press, you know they re losing on the ground!!!
Elsewhere, the Interior Ministry said Taliban militants kidnapped 17 road construction workers in Kunar province on Sunday. The ministry said the kidnappers were gunmen for a Mullah Nasrullah. Three of the workers had already been released, it said. Kidnappings by militants and criminal groups seeking ransom is a growing problem in Afghanistan. --more--"