KABUL: At least nine people were killed after two Afghan army helicopters collided in midair in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province.
The Afghan Ministry of Defense (MoD) said two Afghan National Army (ANA) MI-17 helicopters “crashed due to technical issues” in Nawa district of Helmand early on Wednesday morning.
The MoD stated that the incident happened at 1:15am local time and is being investigated. “Unfortunately, nine individuals aboard were martyred in the crash. Ministry of Defense is investigating the incident,” the statement added.
Previously, security sources said that between eight to 15 people were killed after two helicopters collided in the area. The incident happened after the helicopters had dropped commandos off and were carrying wounded security forces.
The province has been the scene of heavy clashes in recent days after hundreds of Taliban militants from two neighboring provinces joined local militants and tried to capture Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand.
Clashes have been ongoing over the past four days in several parts of Lashkargah and Nadi Ali district after the Taliban attacked the city and the district on Sunday.
On Monday night, Afghan soliders with air support launched an operation in Lashkargah. At least 23 Taliban militants have been killed and six others were wounded during the operation.
The spokesperson for US forces in Afghanistan said that several targeted strikes were conducted in Helmand to support Afghan security forces under attack by the Taliban in the last few days.
“Over the past two days US Forces-Afghanistan has conducted several targeted strikes in Helmand to defend the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) under attack by Taliban fighters, consistent with the US-Taliban agreement,” said US forces-Afghanistan spokesman Col. Sonny Leggett.