President Obama says the latest tragedy in Afghanistan will not stop the U.S. mission to root out the Taliban.
"We will press on and we will succeed," the President said.
The extremist group claims it shot down the U.S. Chinook helicopter with a rocket-propelled grenade in a valley west of Kabul Saturday. The helicopter crash killed 30 American troops, including 20 Navy SEALs from the same elite unit that killed Osama bin Laden.
"Their loss is a stark reminder of the risks men and women in uniform take every day on behalf of their country," the President said.
U.S. officials say the Navy SEALs were helping a group of Army Rrangers hunting down a Taliban leader. The Pentagon says the crash is not a sign the Taliban is regaining strength.
Among the fallen is 21-year-old Spencer Duncan. He joined the army in 2008 and was stationed in Kansas. The flag there is flying at half staff as his friends comfort each other.
"We just can't even grip that this is real," said Brittany Walsh.
The bodies of Duncan and the other fallen forces are scheduled to arrive at Dover Air Force Base Tuesday.
This is the single worst loss of life for U.S. forces in a decade of war in Afghanistan. The President says it highlights the risks for servicemen and women as the U.S. begins to wind down its mission and hand over control to Afghan forces.
The President's war strategy calls for some 30,000 U.S. troops to leave the battle zone and return home by the end of next year.
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