WASHINGTON, Aug. 6, 2011 — Senior U.S. leaders have extended condolences to the families of American and Afghan forces lost in an International Security Assistance Force helicopter crash in eastern Afghanistan earlier today.
Recovery operations are under way, ISAF Joint Command officials said in a statement today, noting that reports indicate there was enemy activity in the area.
The crash reportedly involved numerous casualties, but ISAF officials have yet to release further information.
“My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of the Americans who were lost earlier today in Afghanistan,” President Barack Obama said today in a statement.
“Their deaths are a reminder of the extraordinary sacrifices made by the men and women of our military and their families,” the president continued, “including all who have served in Afghanistan.
“We also mourn the Afghans who died alongside our troops in pursuit of a more peaceful and hopeful future for their country,” the president added.
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta also offered his condolences in a statement today.
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of many outstanding Americans in uniform and of their Afghan counterparts earlier today in Afghanistan,” he said. “Their courage was exemplary, as was their determination to make this a safer world for their countries and for their fellow citizens.
“We will stay the course to complete that mission, for which they and all who have served and lost their lives in Afghanistan have made the ultimate sacrifice,” he continued. “They and their families are in my thoughts, in my prayers and in my heart.”
The United States will draw inspiration from the lives of those who were lost, Obama said, and continue the work of securing the country and standing up for the values they embodied.
“At this difficult hour, the president added, “all Americans are united in support of our men and women in uniform who serve so that we can live in freedom and security.”
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)