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Five US troops killed in helicopter crash, officials say

The helicopter went down in bad weather and officials say it appeared to be an accident and not the result of enemy fire. NBC's Brian Williams reports.

Five U.S. service members died Monday when a helicopter crashed in the Kandahar province of southern Afghanistan, officials said Tuesday.

The cause of the crash was under investigation, but a statement from the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said "there was no enemy activity in the area at the time of the incident."

The names of the troops killed had not been released by U.S. officials Tuesday, but officials in the U.S. and Afghanistan said that all of those killed were American.

The helicopter went down west of the city of Kandahar, in the Daman district, coalition and Afghan officials said.

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Les Carroll, an ISAF spokesman, said the incident happened in darkness.

Earlier in the day, two U.S. service members and three Afghans were killed in a possible insider attack at a special forces site in Afghanistan. The gunman in that attack was dressed in an Afghan National Security Forces uniform.

The attack, which occurred shortly after newly appointed Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel concluded his first trip to the country as head of the Pentagon, was just the latest in a string of bad news centered on the United States' relationship with Afghanistan.

Hagel's trip was marked criticism from Afghan President Hamid Karzai over the U.S. role in the country and the cancellation of a joint press conference due to "security concerns."

There have been 18 coalition deaths this year.

NBC News' Jamieson Lesko, Courtney Kube and Jim Miklaszewski contributed to this report.

Rahmat Gul / AP

More than ten years after the beginning of the war, Afghanistan faces external pressure to reform as well as ongoing internal conflicts.

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