NATO copter crashes in Southern Afghanistan
A helicopter belonging to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has crashed in southern Afghanistan, leaving at least one foreign soldier dead.
“An International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) service member died as a result of a helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan [on] Wednesday,” the ISAF said in a statement on Thursday.
The exact location and the cause of the incident were not disclosed in the statement; but, Ziaur-Rahman Durani, a police spokesperson for Kandahar Province, said the incident took place in the Maruf district of the province at 11:30 pm local time (1900 GMT). The police spokesperson said the chopper crashed into a telecommunication mast while taking off.
NATO also declined to confirm the nationality of the deceased soldier, but a US defense source reportedly confirmed a US service member had been killed in the crash.
According to some reports, 15 people were injured in the incident. Meanwhile, the Taliban have claimed responsibility for bringing down the aircraft. The group says that the soldiers aboard the copter were American and all of them were killed.
Wednesday’s deadly crash comes a month after five British soldiers were killed when their Lynx chopper came down on a routine flight near an airbase in Chaghri village in Takhta Pul district of Kandahar Province.
According to the latest figures released by the website icasualties.org, 3,441 foreign soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan since the US-led war began in the country more than twelve years ago.
There are currently more than 50,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, including some 33,000 US troops.
US President Barack Obama had promised to withdraw all combat troops by the end of 2014. However, he announced on May 27 that he plans to keep some 9,800 troops in Afghanistan by 2016.