16 civilians killed in chopper crash in Afghanistan

July 19th, 2009 - 7:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Kabul, July 19 (DPA) At least 16 civilians were killed when a helicopter crashed in southern Afghanistan Sunday, while a NATO soldier and 35 Taliban militants were killed in the same region, officials said.
“International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) can confirm that 16 civilians have been killed in the helicopter that crashed earlier today (Sunday) in Kandahar Province,” ISAF said in a statement.

“There are an additional five casualties whose condition is yet to be confirmed,” the statement said, adding that no military personnel were amongst the casualties.

The civilian helicopter, which was working for international forces in the region, crashed during take-off from Kandahar province’s airfield.

“There was no indication of the cause of the accident but insurgent action has been ruled out,” it said.

Meanwhile, A US military helicopter made an “emergency landing” near a military base in eastern Konar province Sunday morning, the US military said in a statement.

“Personnel on the aircraft were initially treated on site and evacuated to the nearest medical facility for further treatment,” the statement said, but did not say that how many people aboard the chopper were hurt.

The incident came a day after a US fighter jet F-15E crashed in eastern Afghanistan, killing both its crew members.

Six civilian Ukrainians were killed in another crash in southern Helmand province last Tuesday when their helicopter went down near a British military base in the province. Taliban said their fighters had downed the chopper.

Southern region has been the main hub for Taliban insurgents since the ouster of their regime in a US military invasion in late 2001. Thousands of US, British and Afghan soldiers are taking part in offensives against the militants in the region since late last month.

In the latest incident in the region, a NATO-led soldier was killed in a roadside bomb blast in the region Saturday, the military alliance said in a statement Sunday. It did not reveal the nationality of the soldier.

The Afghan defence ministry also said Sunday that its troops backed by international forces killed 35 Taliban militants in an operation in Shah Walikot district of Kandahar province Saturday.

The combined forces seized a large cache of weapons and explosive materials during the operation, it said.

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