KABUL (Reuters) – An explosion onboard a NATO helicopter killed one and wounded seven shortly after it landed at an outpost in eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said.
Afghan security forces and ISAF troops were traveling on the Chinook helicopter, an ISAF spokesman said, but he declined to comment on the nationality of the person killed.
The seven wounded were all ISAF troops, the spokesman said, and had been brought to an ISAF medical facility for treatment. An earlier ISAF statement had said two people were killed and 10 wounded.
There were 26 people on board the helicopter at the time of the explosion, which happened at a small base near the Pakistani border. The cause of the blast was not immediately clear, ISAF said.
Afghanistan’s Ministry of Defense said they were not aware of the incident and had no immediate comment.
Violence in Afghanistan has soared to its highest levels since the removal of the Taliban by U.S.-backed Afghan forces in 2001, despite the presence of nearly 150,000 foreign troops.
Aircraft crashes are not infrequent in Afghanistan, but explosions on board are extremely rare. The Taliban in the past have shot down helicopters of foreign forces in Afghanistan.
In October 2009, two helicopter crashes killed 11 U.S. soldiers and three U.S. civilians.
(Reporting by Sayed Salahuddin and Jonathon Burch; Editing by Emma Graham-Harrison)
Source: Reuters US Online Report Top News