Nato Crashes Afghanistan
August 6, 2011 by staff
Afghan provincial spokesman Shahid Shahidullah said the helicopter crashed in Sayd Abad district of Wardak province. The volatile region borders the province of Kabul where the Afghan capital, and is known for its strong Taliban presence.
NATO said the alliance was conducting a recovery operation on Saturday at the site and investigate the causes of the accident, but did not disclose details or a toll.
“We are aware of an incident involving a helicopter in eastern Afghanistan,” said the captain of the U.S. Air Force Justin Brockhoff, a NATO spokesman. “We are in the process of access to the facts.”
NATO said the insurgents were in the area at the time of the accident.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the downed plane a U.S. military helicopter and that Taliban fighters had shot down a rocket attack.
In a statement released on Saturday, Mujahid said NATO attacked a house in Sayd Abad, where insurgent fighters were meeting Friday night.
Mujahid said the Taliban fired at and shot down NATO helicopter, killing the entire crew. He said eight insurgents were also killed. The Taliban often exaggerate the casualties in his statements to the media.
Plane accidents are relatively frequent in Afghanistan, where insecurity and the terrain difficult to make air travel essential to the coalition forces to transport troops and equipment.
There have been at least 17 accidents in the coalition and Afghan planes in Afghanistan this year.
Most accidents are attributed to pilot error, weather conditions or mechanical failures. However, the coalition has confirmed that at least one CH-47F Chinook helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade July 25. Two crewmembers of the coalition were wounded in that attack.
Meanwhile, in the southern province of Helmand, an Afghan government official said on Saturday that NATO troops raided a house and accidentally killed eight family members, including women and children.
NATO said the Taliban fighters fired rocket-propelled grenades and firearms against coalition troops Friday during a patrol in the district of Nad Ali.
“Coalition forces responded with small arms fire and the incident continued, an air strike was used against insurgent positions,” Brockhoff said. He added that NATO sent a delegation to meet with local leaders and investigate the incident.
Nad Ali district police chief Shadi Khan said the civilians were killed in the bombing, but it was not known how many insurgents were killed.
Helmand, a Taliban stronghold, is the deadliest of the Afghan province of international troops.
NATO has come under heavy criticism in the past by accidentally killing civilians during operations against suspected insurgents. However, civilian death match of the United Nations show that the insurgency is responsible for the majority of war casualties with noncombatants.
In southern Afghanistan, NATO said two members of the coalition were killed, one Friday and one Saturday. The international alliance gave no details.
The deaths bring to 334 the number of coalition troops killed in Afghanistan this year, and 11 of this month.
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