A helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan has killed five US NATO troops stationed in the area, coalition and provincial authorities said on Tuesday. Bad weather may have been a factor in the accident.
The five American soldiers were traveling in a helicopter late Monday (local time) when a heavy rainstorm struck the Daman district in the province of Kandahar.
Bad weather, along with technical problems on board the helicopter, were thought to have caused the accident, Abdul Raziq, Kandahar's provincial police chief told news agency dpa, adding "no insurgents were there at the time."
The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) issued a statement saying "the cause of the crash is under investigation."
Monday's helicopter crash came on the same day two other US troops were killed and 10 wounded when a man dressed in an Afghan army uniform carried out a suspected insider attack in the eastern province of Wardak.
Meanwhile, in the neighboring province of Helmand, a landmine detonated late Monday under a tractor. Four civilians were killed in the blast, the Interior Ministry said.
Two civilians were also killed in Helmand when a mortar round hit a house in the area.
The ministry added that five of those killed in Monday's violence were women.
Earlier this week comments from Afghan President Hamid Karzai accused the US of colluding with members of the Taliban to justify the presence of foreign troops in the country.
White House officials rejected the allegations, saying "the US has spent enormous blood and treasure" to help the people of Afghanistan and they did not support any violence involving citizens.
NATO combat troops are scheduled to leave Afghanistan at the end of 2014. However, many fear the poorly trained Afghan soldiers will be unable to contain insurgents opposed to Karzai's government on their own.
jlw/mz (dpa, AP, AFP)