Eleven people have been killed, including seven US troops, in a helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan, officials said on Thursday.
The UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter went down in Shah Wali Kot district of Kandahar province in the morning, according to the officials.
“Seven United States soldiers, three Afghan troops and an Afghan interpreter died in the crash,” Martyn Crighton, a spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF), told DPA.
The office of Kandahar’s also confirmed in a statement that an ISAF helicopter had crashed in the Shah Wali Kot district.
Taliban militants claimed responsibility for shooting it down. “It caught fire up in the air after it was shot by an Rocket-Propelled Grenade (RPG),” said Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi.
But NATO said they could not confirm that claim. “I currently do not have any report that indicates any enemy activity in the area, but it is too earlier to say what caused the crash,” Mr. Crighton said.
A year ago, the Taliban downed a US Special Forces helicopter in Wardak province, killing 30 US soldiers, seven Afghan commandoes and an Afghan interpreter.
In northern Afghanistan meanwhile, a roadside bomb struck a military vehicle of the Afghan army, killing two troops and injuring three, a military spokesman said on Thursday.
The soldiers were part of a military convoy patrolling late Wednesday in Baghlan-e-Markazi district of Baghlan province when a bomb struck their vehicle, said Ghulam Hazrat, an Afghan army spokesman in the northern region.
“They were patrolling in the district when the bomb hit their vehicle,” he said. The Taliban, who frequently target Afghan and NATO-led soldiers with roadside bombs, gave no immediate comment.