Four more Nato troops have been killed by insurgents in Afghanistan, as the coalition force works to determine if the Taliban was responsible for the Chinook crash that claimed the lives of 38.
Two more Nato troops were killed by insurgents in the east and another two in the south, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a statement, which offered no further details.
ISAF officials in Kabul also remained tight-lipped about possible causes of Friday's helicopter crash. It is in the process of recovering 38 bodies from the crash site – including 30 US troops, some from the Navy's special forces Seal Team 6, the unit that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
Seven Afghan troops and an interpreter also died in the crash which came just 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 it often exaggerates incidents involving foreign troops, a US official in Washington said the helicopter was believed to have been shot down.
The CH-47 Chinook crashed in central Maidan Wardak province in a hard-to-reach valley surrounded by rugged mountains.
Despite its proximity to the capital, the area is one of the most dangerous in central Afghanistan, with fighters from the Taliban, the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani network and other militant groups all active there.
All of those killed in this operation were true heroes who had already given so much in the defense of freedom. General John Allen
"No words describe the sorrow we feel in the wake of this tragic loss," General John Allen, who took over from General David Petraeus three weeks ago as commander of all foreign troops in Afghanistan, said in a statement released overnight.
"All of those killed in this operation were true heroes who had already given so much in the defense of freedom."
A US official said some of the Americans were members of SEAL Team 6, though none of the dead had been part of the bin Laden raid in Pakistan in May.
The crash was the deadliest single incident for US troops in Afghanistan since the Taliban were toppled by US-backed Afghan forces in late 2001, ISAF said.
Afghan and foreign forces killed "numerous" insurgents on Friday in the Khash Rod district of southern Nimroz district, ISAF added.
The Interior Ministry also said up to 12 insurgents had been killed in seven different provinces over the past 24 hours.
Eight civilians, including women and children, said to have been killed in a NATO air strike in Afghanistan's south on Friday, were members of an insurgent's family, Helmand province governor Gulab Mangal said in a statement.
The insurgent, an elder who was described as a bomb maker, was also killed, it said
Last year was the deadliest of the war for foreign troops in Afghanistan with 711 killed. The crash in Maidan Wardak means at least 375 foreign troops have been killed so far in 2011. More than two-thirds were American, according to independent monitor www.icasualties.com and Reuters figures.