Pentagon IDs soldiers killed in Afghanistan helicopter crash

Pentagon IDs soldiers killed in Afghanistan helicopter crash
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The Pentagon has identified the two soldiers killed Wednesday in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan.

In a statement Thursday, the Pentagon identified the soldiers as Chief Warrant Officer 2 David C. Knadle, 33, of Tarrant, Texas, and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kirk T. Fuchigami Jr., 25, of Keaau, Hawaii.

Both soldiers were assigned to 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas, according to the statement.

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The helicopter crashed “while providing security for troops on the ground” in Logar province, according to Thursday’s statement.

The Taliban claimed to have shot down the helicopter, but the NATO-led Resolute Support mission said Wednesday that “preliminary reports do not indicate [the crash] was caused by enemy fire.”

The incident is currently under investigation, Thursday’s statement said.

The crash brought the number of U.S. combat deaths in Afghanistan this year to 19.

U.S.-Taliban talks to end the 18-year-old war stalled earlier this year after President TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN's Don Lemon explains handling of segment after Trump criticism NPR reporter after Pompeo clash: Journalists don't interview government officials to score 'political points' Lawyer says Parnas can't attend Senate trial due to ankle bracelet MORE invited and then disinvited Taliban officials to Camp David to finalize a peace deal.

However, there have been recent signs of efforts to restart talks; the Taliban and Afghan government agreed to a prisoner swap that was carried out Tuesday. The Taliban released an American and an Australian while the Afghan government released three high-profile militants linked to the Taliban.

On Wednesday Trump tweeted his hope that the prisoner swap “leads to more good things on the peace front like a ceasefire that will help end this long war.”