US & Canada

Afghan Chinook helicopter crash a 'one-off'

A Mexican restaurant sign
Image caption The Virginia town where Navy Seals are based remembered the fallen troops on Monday

The helicopter crash that killed 30 US troops in Afghanistan on Saturday was a "one-off" that will not change US military policy, the Pentagon has said.

Spokesman Col Dave Lapan said the apparent shooting of a Chinook by the Taliban was not part of any new trend.

The troops' bodies will be brought to Dover Air Force Base in the US state of Delaware on Tuesday, the Pentagon said.

The crash, which also killed eight Afghan commandos, was the deadliest incident of the decade-old war.

"This one single incident does not represent any kind of watershed or trend," Col Lapan told reporters in Washington DC on Monday.

"We still have the Taliban on the run . We've reversed the momentum that they had. But they are still going to inflict casualties - that's what they do."

Many of those killed in Saturday's crash were members of Seal Team Six, the elite special forces unit whose members undertook the raid into Pakistan that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.

The CH-47 Chinook helicopter was apparently struck by a rocket-propelled grenade, Nato has said, and Col Lapan said officials presumed it had been brought down by the Taliban.

Also on Monday, President Barack Obama described the incident as "a stark reminder of the risks that our men and women in uniform take every single day on behalf of their county".

"Day after day, night after night, they carry out missions like this in the face of enemy fire and grave danger," he said.

"I know that our troops will continue the hard work of transitioning to a stronger Afghan government and ensuring that Afghanistan is not a safe haven for terrorists. We will press on, and we will succeed."