In Afghanistan, five U.S. soldiers
are dead and seven injured after their helicopter crashed near Kabul. The cause
of the incident remains unknown.
The helicopter went down Sunday close to the US. military headquarters in
Afghanistan at Bagram Air Base, about one hour's drive north of the capital,
U.S. Central Command, in charge of operations in Afghanistan, says an investigation
into the crash is under way.
It says the soldiers were involved Operation Mountain Resolve, a campaign
in the northeastern provinces of Kunar and Nuristan aimed at rooting out militants
waging an insurgency against the Afghan transitional government. The offensive
began earlier this month.
In another incident just hours before the crash, two U.S. soldiers patrolling
near the border with Pakistan were wounded when their vehicle struck an improvised
Insurgents led by what is left of Afghanistan's hardline Taleban regime have
increased attacks on Afghan and U.S. targets in recent weeks.
Vikram Parekh, senior Afghan analyst for the Brussels-based International
Crisis Group, says this shows the Taleban are reorganizing since their fall
from power in 2001. "I think it simply was a matter of time after re-assembling
commanders, rebuilding funding networks and having eager troops to draw upon."
Other observers say the rise in attacks might be meant to destabilize Afghanistan
ahead of its national convention, slated for December 10, to adopt a new constitution.
In a statement attributed to Taleban leader Mullah Omar, faxed to news organizations
Sunday, condemns the draft constitution as a plot to place the country under
the control of non-Muslims.