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Taliban Makes 2nd Bogus Chopper Downing Claim, Two Troops Killed

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 25, 2006 – The Taliban made another false claim of shooting down a U.S. helicopter yesterday, while two coalition troops were killed, officials reported.

The Taliban claim came as at least 65 insurgents were killed during recent firefights with coalition forces in Afghanistan.

The Taliban falsely told the media June 24 that a U.S. helicopter was shot down yesterday in the Tarin Kowt area of Uruzgan Province. There's no truth to this claim, U.S. officials said, noting that all coalition helicopters are accounted for.

This is the second fake claim of downing a U.S. helicopter the Taliban have made in a week.

In other news, Afghan and coalition forces killed 65 insurgents in two separate actions June 23. More than 40 extremists were dispatched near the village of Mirabad, northeast of Tarin Kowt.

Another 25 insurgent fighters met their end fighting coalition troops during another action that lasted three hours near the village of Bayanzi in the Zharie district of Kandahar Province.

The two engagements were part the coalition's Operation Mountain Thrust offensive. Afghan and coalition forces "continue to demonstrate how well they work together to defeat our common enemies," said Lt. Col. Paul Fitzpatrick, a Combined Joint Task Force 76 spokesman.

"Afghan and coalition forces will continue to place heavy pressure on Taliban insurgents hiding in southern Afghanistan in support of Operation Mountain Thrust," Fitzpatrick said.

The two coalition soldiers died June 24 during anti-insurgent action in the Panjwayi district of Afghanistan's Kandahar Province. Names of the deceased are being withheld until the families are notified.

An estimated 45 extremists were killed in the firefight.

"Our prayers and deepest sympathies go out to the families of our soldiers killed yesterday, and our thoughts are with those who were wounded in this attack," said Maj. Gen. Benjamin C. Freakley, commander of Combined Joint Task Force 76. "The phenomenal bravery and repeated acts of heroism by Afghan and coalition forces continues to rapidly destroy enemy Taliban forces."

The Taliban have launched a multitude of attacks as part of their new spring offensive across southern Afghanistan.

(Compiled from Combined Forces Command Afghanistan and Combined Joint Task Force 76 press releases.)

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Combined Forces Command Afghanistan
Combined Joint Task Force 76

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