2 NATO soldiers killed as helicopter crashes in Afghanistan
Two NATO soldiers were killed Thursday morning when a military helicopter crashed in restive southern Afghanistan, the military alliance said.
"Two International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) service members died following a helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan today," the NATO-led ISAF said in a statement.
The cause of the crash is under investigation, the statement said, adding "According to operational reporting, there was no enemy activity in the area at the time of the crash,"
The statement did not disclose the nationalities of the victims under the ISAF policy, only saying "it is ISAF policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities."
Meantime, Daud Ahmadi, a spokesman for provincial government in southern Helmand province, told Xinhua that the crash took place in Helmand's Garmser district at early Thursday morning.
The Thursday's crash is the second air crash incident in August.
A total of three U.S. special force, two U.S. Navy SEALS and one Navy explosive expert as well as four Afghan commandos and a local translator were killed when a U.S. Black Hawk helicopter went down in Shah Wali Kot district of southern Kandahar province on Aug. 16.
The Taliban stepped up their attacks on Afghan and NATO-led troops since a spring offensive was launched in May in the war- ravaged country.
The insurgent group claimed responsibility for shooting down the helicopter in Kandahar. The incident brings to nine the number of air crashes so far this year which left 39 foreign soldiers and eight Afghans dead.
The death toll has brought to 319 the number of foreign soldiers killed in Afghanistan so far this year.