Nato probes helicopter crash that killed 38

Nato tried to ascertain yesterday if Taliban insurgents shot down a helicopter in Afghanistan, killing 38 people in the largest loss of life for foreign troops in a single incident in 10 years of war.

In a bloody two days for foreign forces in Afghanistan, another two unidentified Nato troops were killed in separate attacks by insurgents in Afghanistan's violent east and south, the coalition said.

Friday night's helicopter crash claimed the lives of 30 US soldiers – some from the special forces Seal Team 6, which killed al-Qa'ida leader Osama bin Laden – as well as seven Afghans and an interpreter. It came two weeks after foreign troops began a security handover to Afghan forces.

The Taliban quickly claimed responsibility for bringing down the helicopter with a rocket-propelled grenade. Although the insurgents often exaggerate incidents involving foreign troops, a US official in Washington said the helicopter was believed to have been shot down.

The Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan confirmed the death toll and said the cause of the crash and the process of recovering the bodies from the site was ongoing.