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Afghan militants shoot down a U.S. helicopter

Insurgents on Monday downed a U.S. helicopter in a province near the capital, American military officials said – an unusual feat for the Taliban. The crew survived and was rescued, a U.S. military spokesman said.

Also Monday, a suicide bomber dressed as an Afghan policeman killed two American soldiers and wounded several other people at a police station in northern Afghanistan, provincial officials said. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which also injured some Afghan officers, according to police in Baghlan province.

The U.S. military confirmed the deaths of two members of the U.S.-led coalition in the bombing in Baghlan's capital, Pol-e Khomri, but did not immediately confirm their nationalities. Three coalition soldiers were hurt in the blast, a spokesman said.

The helicopter that was downed was flying over Wardak province, about 40 miles west of Kabul, when it came under small-arms fire from insurgents, said Lt. Cmdr. Walter Matthews, an American military spokesman. The crew returned fire, but damage to the helicopter forced them to make a hard landing.

Matthews declined to say how many crew members had been aboard but said without providing details that they were all “extracted” from the area. Wardak has become a Taliban stronghold in recent months, which has contributed to the choking off of road traffic in and out of Kabul. Coalition troops were working to recover the helicopter, the military said, blaming the downing on the Taliban.

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