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U.S. helo downed by RPG in Pech; none killed

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: July 25, 2011

FORWARD OPERATING BASE JOYCE, Afghanistan — Minor casualties were reported after a rocket-propelled grenade downed a Chinook helicopter carrying U.S. and Afghanistan soldiers as it attempted to land at a coalition forces base in eastern Afghanistan early Monday.

The crash happened shortly after midnight when the rocket hit the rear of the helicopter on its descent into Nangalam Base in the Pech River Valley of Kunar province.

At least two soldiers suffered non-life-threatening shrapnel wounds. Some 20 people were on board, including soldiers and crew.

A rescue team that responded to the crash came under small-arms fire, drawing return fire from U.S. and Afghan soldiers. No further coalition casualties were reported.

There was no immediate word on who was responsible for the attack.

The Pech River Valley and several adjoining valleys, including the Korengal and Shuryak, are considered Taliban strongholds, and attacks on coalition forces remain a regular occurrence as the Afghanistan war approaches the 10-year mark.

A battalion of the Afghanistan National Army is stationed at Nangalam Base, formerly known as Forward Operating Base Blessing. The U.S. military handed over control of the base to Afghan forces earlier this year.

From staff reports

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