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NATO Helicopter Crash Kills 9 in Afghanistan

September 21, 2010

NATO says a helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan has killed nine coalition service members, making 2010 the deadliest year for international forces since the war began.

The aircraft went down Tuesday in Daychopan district of Zabul province, according to Afghan officials.  NATO says a coalition service member, an Afghan soldier and a U.S. civilian were injured.

The cause of the crash was not immediately clear.

The Taliban claims to have shot down the helicopter, but NATO said there were no reports of enemy fire in the area. In the past, Islamic insurgents have made exaggerated or unsubstantiated claims about attacks on foreign forces.

An independent website that tracks war deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan [www.icasualties.org] said that Tuesday’s crash brings the number of international troops killed in Afghanistan this year to 529.  That is the highest number of deaths in one year since the war began in 2001.

At least 2,097 coalition troops have been killed since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan.

Elsewhere in southern Afghanistan, NATO said a joint Afghan and international force killed 11 insurgents in Kandahar province during a two-day operation that ended on Monday.

In the north, Afghan officials say five construction workers were killed and at least three others wounded Tuesday in a roadside bombing in Parwan province.

And NATO says Afghan and coalition forces captured a Taliban commander and killed two Taliban insurgents after raiding a compound in the Baghlan province on Monday. NATO said Tuesday the captured commander was linked to several attacks during Saturday’s elections in Afghanistan.

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