**Written by Doug Powers
Very bad news from Afghanistan:
Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) — The U.S. military was reeling Saturday after a helicopter went down in eastern Afghanistan, killing 31 Americans, including 22 Navy SEALs, a U.S. military official told CNN Saturday.
In the single deadliest incident since the start of the decade-long Afghan war, an Army Chinook carrying a team of U.S. special forces and U.S. and Afghan soldiers went down in Wardak province. Insurgents are believed to have shot down the helicopter, the military official said.
The majority of the Navy SEALs who died belonged to the same covert unit that conducted the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May, though they were not the same men, the official said.
Karzai, President Barack Obama and others offered condolences.
“Information is still coming in about this incident. I think it’s important that we allow investigators to do their work before jumping to too many conclusions,” said Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
More from the Associated Press:
President Barack Obama mourned the deaths of the American troops, saying in a statement that the crash serves as a reminder of the “extraordinary sacrifices” being made by the U.S. military and its families. He said he also mourned “the Afghans who died alongside our troops.”
The death toll would surpass the worst single day loss of life for the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan since the war began in 2001 – the June 28, 2005 downing of a military helicopter in eastern Kunar province. In that incident, 16 Navy SEALs and Army special operations troops were killed when their craft was shot down while on a mission to rescue four SEALs under attack by the Taliban. Three of the SEALs being rescued were also killed and the fourth wounded. It was the highest one-day death toll for the Navy Special Warfare personnel since World War II.
All these brave men and their families are in our thoughts and prayers. Their service and sacrifice will not be forgotten.
**Written by Doug Powers
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