x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Kandahar helicopter crash kills five US troops

A helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan has killed five American service members.

KABUL // A helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan has killed five American service members, officials said yesterday.

Monday night's crash brought the total number of US troops killed that day to seven, making it the deadliest day for US forces so far this year. Two US special operations forces soldiers were shot dead hours earlier in an insider attack by an Afghan policeman in eastern Afghanistan.

The Nato military coalition said that "initial reports" showed no enemy activity in the area at the time and that the cause of the crash was under investigation.

A US official said all five of the dead were American. The official said the helicopter went down outside Kandahar city, the capital of Kandahar province.

The five dead included everyone aboard the UH-60 Black Hawk, said Maj Adam Wojack, a spokesman for the international military coalition in Afghanistan.

Their deaths take the total of US troops killed so far this year in Afghanistan to 12. There were 297 US service members killed in Afghanistan last year.

It was the deadliest crash since August, when a US military helicopter crashed during a firefight with insurgents in a remote area of Kandahar. Seven Americans and four Afghans died in that crash.

Also yesterday, the interior ministry said that insurgent attacks had killed six Afghan civilians.

Four died when the tractor they were on struck a roadside bomb in the southern province of Helmand on Monday. Then yesterday, two women were killed when a mortar fired by insurgents hit their house in the same province.