U.S. helo crashes in Afghanistan
A U.S. Army helicopter crashed on a nighttime mission in southwestern Afghanistan April 19, and the initial reports from the scene indicate that as many as four soldiers may have bene killed, a U.S. defense official said.
In a brief official announcement, the American military command in Kabul said there were “no confirmed reports” of casualties “at this time.” The announcement did not specify the nationality of the helicopter crew and said the cause of the crash was unknown.
Two U.S. defense officials said four U.S. troops were aboard the helicopter, identified as an Army Black Hawk, and one official said initial word form the scene was that officials “don’t expect” that any of the four survived. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because details were still being collected and the families of the helicopter crew had not been notified.
Unspecified weather difficulties may have played a role in the crash, the two officials said, but it was also possible that enemy action was a factor. AP
Central Europeans vow to boost defense ties
Four of NATO’s Central European members say they will boost security cooperation as part of the alliance’s push for increased sharing of military resources.
Authorities said in a statement April 18 that the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia will conduct joint training of military air controllers and helicopter pilots. They will also pool their logistics and medical facilities.
The initiative is part of NATO’s concept of “Smart Defense” – the idea that its 28 members should share limited resources as their defense budgets face cuts.
NATO hopes that, at a summit in Chicago this May, member nations will put aside concerns over sovereignty and formally agree to create joint defense capabilities. AP