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Ten die in Afghan chopper crash


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Ten soldiers have been killed when a US helicopter crashed in Afghanistan late on Friday night, officials from the US-led coalition said. The CH-47 Chinook came down in Kunar province near a "mountaintop landing zone" 240km (150 miles) east of Kabul.

 

The nationalities of the soldiers have not yet been released.

 

The soldiers were reportedly involved in operations against the Taleban, although military officials said the crash was not caused by enemy fire.

The crash happened near the provincial capital, Asadabad, close to the border with Pakistan.

 

There is a large US military base near the town, in the mountainous border terrain.

 

"The remains of 10 soldiers were on board the aircraft that crashed last night. There were no survivors," Lieutenant Tamara Lawrence, a spokeswoman for the US-led military coalition, said.

 

In an earlier statement the US military had said that the CH-47 was conducting operations on a mountain top landing zone when the crash occurred.

 

"Additional aircraft and crews were also at the landing zone and confirmed that enemy forces did not cause the crash," the statement said.

 

A man claiming to speak for the Taleban told the BBC the militia had shot it down with a new weapon, but correspondents say claims like this have been unsubstantiated in the past.

 

A major operation against the Taleban, Operation Mountain Lion, was mounted in Kunar province last month.

 

However, the BBC's Alastair Leithhead says the province is one of the most difficult regions of Afghanistan to operate in, with its narrow and deep forested valleys.

 

The US military has suffered more casualties there than in any other province, our correspondent says.

 

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4979546.stm

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