Taliban claims wreckage came from U.S. helicopter
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (CNN) -- The Taliban Monday allowed a CNN crew to videotape parts of what it said was the wreckage of one of two U.S. helicopters it said it shot down over the weekend. A senior U.S. military official said, "The Taliban lie."
The parts provided for the TV crew were primarily landing gear with markings in English. Boeing and Loud Engineering could be read on one of the gear.
The CNN crew was taken to Baba Sahiv mountain, southwest of Kandahar to see the parts, but were not taken to the site where the Taliban said the aircraft went down.
U.S. weapons and aircraft have been used in the various Afghanistan conflicts for decades. CNN has not been able to independently confirm the source of the parts shown by the Taliban.
The Taliban said Saturday a helicopter had been downed that they believed was being used by U.S. troops in commando raids overnight Friday into Saturday morning. Taliban officials said after they shot the helicopter over Kandahar, it flew off, crashing over the border with Pakistan.
"Lies," Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Richard Myers said later Saturday. "Any claims that they shot a helicopter down is false," he added.
The Pentagon said Friday that two U.S. military personnel were killed in a Blackhawk helicopter accident in Pakistan as they worked to support the ground operation.
U.S. officials told CNN the helicopter was not among those that went into Afghanistan in the special forces combat operation. Instead, it was a search-and-rescue helicopter playing a support role, standing by in Pakistan in case it was needed to go into Afghanistan and rescue someone.
Pakistani civil aviation authorities told CNN the helicopter went down in a remote part of the Baluchistan region of southwestern Pakistan, near the border with Afghanistan. Authorities said the helicopter crashed, but was not shot down.
Pakistan has given the United States permission to use one of its air bases in that region.
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