Kabul: Militants ambushed an Afghan police vehicle, killing two on Saturday and a coalition helicopter crashed in eastern Afghanistan with no fatalities, NATO and Afghan officials said.
The Afghan Ministry of Interior said insurgents attacked the policemen in Dara Nur district in the northern tip of Nangarhar province. Two others were wounded in the attack, the ministry said.
Fighting has escalated in eastern Afghanistan as Afghan and coalition forces step up their attacks on insurgents along the Pakistan border and militants retaliate with attacks on pro-government forces and Afghan officials.
A suicide attacker on foot detonated his vest packed with explosives on Friday afternoon at the entrance to a building used by education officials in Jayi Maydan district of Khost province, said Abdul Hakim Ishaqzai, police chief in the eastern province. The bomber died in the attack and four people were wounded, including the district education director and a local principal, he said.
The coalition helicopter crashed on Saturday morning in Alasay district of Kapisa province, northeast of Kabul.
No further details have been disclosed about the crash, which is under investigation.
Aziz Rahman Tawab, acting provincial governor in Kapisa province, said the helicopter crashed into the side of a mountain.
Aircraft are used extensively in Afghanistan by both NATO and the Afghan government forces to transport and supply troops because the terrain is mountainous and roads are few and primitive.
In September 2010, nine American troops were killed in a helicopter crash in a rugged area of Zabul province in southern Afghanistan. That was the worst helicopter crash for the coalition since May 2006 when a Chinook helicopter went down while attempting a nighttime landing on a small mountaintop in eastern Kunar province, killing 10 US troops.
Also in the east, the Afghan Defence Ministry said on Saturday that eight insurgents were killed and eight others were wounded in a gunbattle with Afghan forces on Friday in the Pech Valley area of eastern Kunar province, which borders Pakistan. The ministry said 12 militants were killed by Afghan and coalition forces on Thursday in Yahya Khel district of Paktika province.