JIM LEHRER: This was the deadliest day for American forces in Afghanistan in more than four years. At least 14 U.S. troops and civilians were killed in separate air crashes.
It came as President Obama wrestled again with future troop commitments and as Afghan President Karzai rejected a rival's demand.
NewsHour correspondent Kwame Holman has our lead story report.
KWAME HOLMAN: All of the day's losses involved helicopters, used heavily by the U.S. military to ferry forces across Afghanistan's mountainous terrain.
Three helicopters went down in two separate incidents across the country. One crashed in the west. Seven U.S. troops and three agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration were killed. And, in the south, two U.S. Marine helicopters collided in flight. Four American troops were killed there.
COL. WAYNE SHANKS, spokesperson, NATO: In both of these incidents, we do not believe that enemy action was responsible for that. We're still looking into it to see what actually happened, but we don't believe that it was due to any enemy fire.
In Western Afghanistan, the helicopter was just departing an operation where they were going in to look for an insurgent that had been working with the narcotics trade. And we actually got into a fairly serious firefight in that particular village. And we killed 14 of the enemy fighters before our forces went to the helicopters to fly away.
KWAME HOLMAN: A spokesman for the Taliban disputed that version of events. He claimed insurgents shot down an American helicopter in the northwest. It was unclear if he referred to the same incident in that region reported by the U.S. military.
With today's deaths and two over the weekend, at least 47 Americans have been killed in Afghanistan so far in October. Well over 400 have died this year, the highest toll of the entire war.
Attacks on Afghans also continued to grow. Today, a provincial governor in the east survived an assassination attempt. Gunmen fired automatic weapons at his convoy in Jalalabad. Amid the violence, President Obama called a sixth high-level meeting to discuss sending more U.S. troops. Later, he traveled to the naval air station in Jacksonville, Florida, and made a promise to the Navy and Marine Corps audience.