Leaders Offer Condolences in Wake of Helicopter Crash

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)

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