Taliban claim downing Afghan helicopter, 11 dead
Kabul: Eleven people were killed on Thursday morning when a Black Hawk helicopter crashed in southern Afghanistan, the NATO military coalition said.
Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi said insurgent fighters shot down the helicopter in Kandahar province, adding: "Nobody survived this”.
Seven American troops and four Afghans died in the crash.
The crash marked another deadly day for the US in Afghanistan, less than a week after six American service members were gunned down, apparently by two members of the Afghan security forces they were training to take over the fight against the insurgency as international combat troops prepare to exit the country by the end of 2014.
The spike in American deaths and attacks by Afghan allies have stirred fresh doubts about the prospects for the US plan to leave a capable Afghan government in place when most troops depart after more than a decade of war.
Spokesman Brigadier General Gunter Katz said the NATO coalition is investigating the cause of Thursday`s crash in Kandahar province. The coalition had no immediate comment on the insurgents` claim that they shot down the helicopter.
Kandahar is a traditional Taliban stronghold and the spiritual birthplace of the hardline Islamist movement that ruled Afghanistan before being ousted in 2001 by the US-led alliance for sheltering al Qaeda`s terrorist leaders.
Among the dead were seven American service members, three members of Afghan security forces and one Afghan civilian interpreter, said Jamie Graybeal, a spokesman for the coalition. He said there were no survivors of the crash.
He declined to give any details on the mission of the helicopter, a UH-60 Black Hawk.
The helicopter was shot down in Kandahar`s Shah Wali Kot district, which lies in the northern part of the province, said Ahmad Jawed Faisal, a spokesman for the provincial government said. He declined to give further details.
(With Agency inputs)
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