US investigating helicopter crash in Afghanistan
KABUL: An investigation was under way Monday into how a US Pave Hawk helicopter crashed in southern Afghanistan killing its crew of six, military officials said.
US military spokesman Colonel Roger King said the crash Sunday in Ghazni province was believed to be an accident, the second in two months to blight the coalition campaign against Al Qaeda and Taliban in Afghanistan.
“This is not believed to be the result of any enemy action,” King told reporters at Bagram air base north of Kabul, the hub of coalition operations in Afghanistan. “The incident is under investigation at this time.”
King said the apparent accident, involving an HH-60 aircraft, occurred at 8:50 pm (1620 GMT), 24 kilometres (18 miles) north of Ghazni city. He described weather conditions in the crash zone as fair.
“In the vicinity where the crash was there were scattered clouds. The ceiling was up around 8,000 feet (2,430 metres).”
He did not reveal the identities of those on board the helicopter.
King said the accident brought the US Army’s accidental death toll during its 17-month campaign in Afghanistan to 36. Some 25 soldiers have been killed in action.
There are about 8,000 US soldiers in Afghanistan leading a coalition in the hunt for remnants of the ousted Taliban regime and the Al Qaeda network blamed for the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.
King said the helicopter had been travelling with another Hawk aircraft from Kandahar airfield in southern Afghanistan, the second-largest US airbase in the country, to an undisclosed location.
“It was going to pick up two injured Afghan children, they are being medivaced (medically evacuated) this time by other means. —AFP