Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Southern Afghanistan NATO helicopter crash kills 6

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — A NATO helicopter crashed in southern Afghanistan on Thursday, killing six members of the international military force, the U.S.-led coalition said.

The coalition said there was no enemy activity in the area at the time. The cause of the crash is being investigated. The coalition did not disclose the nationalities of those killed.

The crash occurred on the same day seven civilians were killed outside a crowded gate at Kandahar Air Field, a sprawling base for U.S. and NATO operations, when a suicide attacker set off a vehicle laden with explosives. The Taliban claimed responsibility. The coalition said no NATO troops were killed.

On Wednesday, 13 civilians, including three Afghan policemen, were killed when a suicide attacker blew himself up in a bazaar in neighboring Helmand Province.

The deaths come as the New York Times reported that coalition forces are being killed in increasing numbers by the very Afghan soldiers they fight alongside and train, in attacks motivated by deep-seated animosity between the supposedly allied forces. The Times cited U.S. and Afghan officers and a classified coalition report it obtained.

The violence, and coalition commanders' failure to address it, casts a harsh spotlight on the shortcomings of U.S. efforts to build a functional Afghan army, a pillar of the Obama administration's strategy for extricating the United States from the war in Afghanistan, said the officers and experts who helped shape the strategy.

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