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Crashes in Afghanistan kill 14 Americans

KABUL, Afghanistan — Fourteen Americans died Monday in helicopter crashes in southern and western Afghanistan, one of the deadliest days for the United States in the Afghanistan war.

Ten died when a helicopter went down in western Afghanistan, and four were killed in a midair collision between two helicopters in southern Afghanistan, according to NATO officials in Kabul.

The death toll could climb higher, as some of the 14 U.S. survivors in the two crashes were critically injured, the International Security Assistance Force said.

Both appeared to be accidents.

"In both incidents, there is no evidence of hostile fire," said Capt. Mike Andrews, a NATO spokesman in Kabul.

A total of 911 American troops have died in the Afghan war, now entering its ninth year, 281 of them this year, according to icasualties.org, a Web site that tracks casualties in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Helicopters are lifelines for American troops in Afghanistan, ferrying supplies and people to locations that often are too dangerous or too remote to reach by road and providing aerial firepower against insurgent forces.

In the southern Afghanistan collision, NATO officials said, four service members died and two were injured.

The western Afghanistan crash involved a helicopter that was carrying U.S. and Afghan forces and American civilians to a compound that was being searched for drugs. Insurgents attacked during the operation, and the resulting firefight killed 12 of the enemy forces, according to NATO officials.

As the troops were departing the area, the helicopter crashed, killing seven U.S. service members and three civilian government employees.

NATO officials also reported the deaths of two American service members Sunday in eastern Afghanistan. One was killed in a bomb attack, and another died of wounds suffered in an insurgent attack.

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