Aircraft Mishaps Now Top Cause of US Deaths in Afghanistan

As combat operations wind down in Afghanistan, aircraft accidents have become the main cause of combat-related deaths among US military personnel there, reported McClatchy. Of the 33 US lives lost since the start of the year, 13 have been in five aircraft crashes, including the four airmen who were killed on April 27 in the crash of an MC-12 surveillance airplane near Kandahar Airfield, according to the news service. The four other crashes involved an F-16, Apache attack helicopter, Black Hawk helicopter, and Kiowa reconnaissance helicopter. Among the remaining deaths, eight came from improvised explosive devices, four from small arms fire, two from indirect fire, and six more from some other means, including two so-called “green-on-blue” attacks, states McClatchy’s April 30 report. The latter are cases in which Afghan security forces suddenly turned their guns on US forces. In related news, a commercial 747 cargo airplane under contract to the Defense Department crashed on April 29 while taking off from Bagram Airfield, killing the seven civilian crew members.