x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Black Hawk downed in Afghanistan, 11 dead

Taliban claims responsibility after seven American soldiers and four Afghans die when helicopter crashes in southern Afghanistan.

KABUL // A Nato Black Hawk helicopter came down in southern Afghanistan on Thursday, killing seven American soldiers and four Afghans, the military said, as Taliban insurgents claimed to have shot it down.

The four Afghans included three members of the Afghan security forces and a civilian interpreter, Nato's US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said.

"The cause of the crash is under investigation," it said, adding that the helicopter was a UH-60 Black Hawk. The statement gave no further details.

Taliban spokesman Qari Yusuf Ahmadi told AFP: "Our mujahideen (holy warriors) shot down an ISAF helicopter in Chenarto area of Shah Wali Kot district in Kandahar province at around 11.00am (0630 GMT).

"The helicopter was destroyed and all the crew and soldiers inside the chopper were killed."

The ISAF statement did not use its normal phrasing for a helicopter crash, which includes the line that no enemy activity was reported in the area.

Helicopter crashes are fairly frequent in Afghanistan, where the 130,000-strong Nato mission relies heavily on air transport.

Nato combat troops are scheduled to leave Afghanistan gradually and hand over responsibility for national security to Afghan forces by the end of 2014.