Six US service members were killed when their helicopter crashed in southern Afghanistan Tuesday; one American survived, reported Stars and Stripes. The cause of the incident is under investigation; however, according to initial reports there was no enemy activity in the area of the crash. Malik Ali Mohammad, district governor of the Shahjoi district in Zabul province, said an aircraft crashed in the area around 2 p.m. on Dec. 17, but International Security Assistance Forces in Afghanistan would not confirm the location of the crash, reported the paper. The crash is the single deadliest incident for ISAF troops operating in Afghanistan since seven Georgian soldiers were killed in a suicide bombing in Helmand province in June. More than 150 ISAF members have been killed in Afghanistan so far this year, according to the report.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.