Five US troops killed in helicopter crash, officials say
Five U.S. service members died Monday when a helicopter crashed in the Kandahar province of southern Afghanistan, officials said Tuesday.
The cause of the crash was under investigation, but a statement from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said "there was no enemy activity in the area at the time of the incident."
The names and nationalities of the troops killed had not been released by U.S. officials early Tuesday, but an Afghan government official in Kandahar, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Tuesday that all of those killed were American.
The Associated Press reported that a U.S. official, also speaking on the condition of anonymity, had confirmed that the dead were Americans. NBC News could not immediately get verification from U.S. sources.
The helicopter went down west of the city of Kandahar, in the Daman district, coalition and Afghan officials said.
U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Les Carroll, an ISAF spokesman, said the incident happened in darkness.
Earlier in the day, two U.S. service members and three Afghans were killed in a possible insider attack at a special forces site in Afghanistan. The gunman in that attack was dressed in an Afghan National Security Forces uniform.
The attack, which occurred shortly after newly appointed Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel concluded his first trip to the country as head of the Pentagon, was just the latest in a string of bad news centered on the United States' relationship with Afghanistan.
Hagel's trip was marked criticism from Afghan President Hamid Karzai over the U.S. role in the country and the cancellation of a joint press conference due to "security concerns."
There have been 18 coalition deaths this year.
NBC News' Jamieson Lesko, Courtney Kube and Jim Miklaszewski contributed to this report.