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Taliban Claims Downing of U.S. Chopper

The Taliban has claimed responsibility for downing an American military helicopter on Tuesday in eastern Afghanistan. The Taliban said it killed 35 soldiers in the operation, as the holding capacity of the Chinook helicopter is 36, but the United States Army could not immediately confirm the number of casualties.

U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban from power in Afghanistan in late 2001.

The Taliban also took credit for killing another seven U.S. soldiers in the same area, Kunar, two hours earlier. Kunar is known as a Taliban stronghold.

Taliban claims have still not been corroborated, as people supposedly affiliated with the organization have in the past falsely taken credit for operations.

The Afghani government says Afghani forces are on top of the situation, even though a terror threat exists. Government spokesman Jewad Ludin said the fighters are small compared to the Afghani forces, the assistance of the international community and the will of the Afghan people.

The Afghani and the international community fear the Taliban is trying to destabilize the country and derail the parliamentary elections, set for September 18.