- The Washington Times - Monday, January 21, 2002

BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan A U.S. helicopter crashed in the rugged mountains of Afghanistan yesterday, killing two Marines and injuring the other five on board. It was the third fatal crash of a U.S. military aircraft in the campaign.
The CH-53E Super Stallion crashed about 40 miles south of Bagram air base after taking off from the former Soviet base outside the capital, Kabul. It was flying with another helicopter to resupply American forces, military officials said.
Marine spokesman 1st Lt. James Jarvis said there was no initial indication of hostile fire, and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said the cause of the crash appeared to be a mechanical failure.
The survivors were flown from the crash site to Bagram and on to another, undisclosed site in Afghanistan for treatment, said Capt. Tom Bryant, a U.S. Army spokesman at Bagram. The Pentagon said their injuries were not life-threatening.
The men were assigned to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361, which is part of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing based in Marine Corps Air Station, Miramar, Calif.
Staff Sgt. Walter F. Cohee III, 26, a communications navigations systems technician from Wicomico, Md., and Sgt. Dwight J. Morgan, 24, a helicopter mechanic from Mendocino, Calif., were killed.
The injured Marines included Cpl. David. J. Lynne, 23, a crew chief from Mecklenburg, N.C.; Cpl. Ivan A. Montanez, 22, a helicopter mechanic from Hayes, Texas; Cpl. Stephen A. Sullivan, 24, a crew chief from Pickens, S.C.; Capt. William J. Cody, 30, a pilot from Middlesex, N.J.; and Capt. Douglas V. Glasgow, 33, a pilot from Wayne, Ohio.
Meanwhile, more Taliban and al Qaeda prisoners were being moved to a detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where the treatment of prisoners has begun to raise questions in Europe.
Human rights groups have expressed alarm about the treatment of detainees, saying the small, open-air cells at Guantanamo fall below internationally accepted standards for prisoners of war.
U.S. officials would not say where the helicopter went down, but the flight was thought to be supplying small Special Forces units scouring remote areas for Taliban and al Qaeda fighters still on the run.
The worst single casualty toll for U.S. forces in the Afghanistan campaign was Jan. 9, when all seven Marines aboard a refueling tanker died in a fiery crash in the mountains of southwestern Pakistan. The cause of that crash remains under investigation, though Marines said there was no sign of hostile ground fire.
The only other fatal crash of a U.S. military aircraft since the United States began the war targeting the Taliban and Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda terror network three months ago involved an Army Black Hawk helicopter that crashed in Pakistan Oct. 19, killing two Army Rangers.
Some Marines have begun transferring out of Afghanistan to return to troop ships from which they can be quickly deployed on future missions. The Army's 101st Airborne Division took over command of a base in the southern city of Kandahar from Marines on Saturday.
Some Marines remain at the base for possible future missions as the United States presses the search for the Taliban, bin Laden and other renegades from his al Qaeda organization.
Lt. Jarvis said 58 more Taliban and al Qaeda detainees were flown from the Kandahar base Saturday, leaving 232 there, down from a high of about 400.
Thirty were taken to an undisclosed location in Pakistan and are presumably Pakistani nationals. The rest were bound for the detention facility at the U.S. Navy base in Guantanamo Bay.
Britain asked the United States yesterday to explain photographs from Guantanamo that appeared in British media and showed al Qaeda and Taliban prisoners kneeling on the ground in handcuffs.
"The British government's position is that prisoners regardless of their technical status should be treated humanely and in accordance with customary international law," Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said.
In other developments:
German troops in the British-led stabilization force in Afghanistan have been warned about possible attacks on their base in the capital, Kabul, the German Defense Ministry said yesterday.
In Kabul, where an international stabilization force is working with newly sworn Afghan police, five Taliban members were arrested at a checkpoint on the north edge of the city, a local police commander said.
U.N. aid officials said that regardless of U.S. concerns that Iran may be trying to undermine Afghanistan's interim government, the countries are cooperating in the humanitarian aid effort, with shipments of U.S. food aid moving overland through Iran.
The Afghan border area near the Pakistani town of Torkham was without power yesterday after Pakistani authorities shut off electricity because of nonpayment of bills, an official of the state-run power company in Pakistan said.

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