Kabul, Mar 18 (efe-epa).- A pre-dawn MI-17 chopper crash in Afghanistan left at least nine soldiers dead Thursday, officials said.
The accident took place around 2 am in the Behsoud district of the central Maidan-Wardak province.
The dead included four military pilots and five Afghan National Army soldiers, a defense ministry statement said.
The statement said the ministry was investigating and collecting information regarding the crash.
It, however, did not mention the possible cause behind the crash.
The district is one of the least hostile areas in the province.
However, it is home to a private militia led by Hazara commander Ali Poor.
Poor’s armed men have previously engaged in armed clashes with Afghan security forces.
Sharifullah Hotak, a provincial council member, blamed Poor’s illegal armed group for hitting the military chopper carrying supplies for security forces.
“When the chopper was landing, illegal armed men of Commander Ali Poor opened fire (at) the chopper,” Hotak told EFE. EFE.
Afghanistan has been mired in a bloody war since 2001 when a military coalition led by the United States toppled the Taliban regime, which since then has been fighting to regain control of the country, where they currently hold widespread sway.
A US-brokered peace process between the government and Taliban negotiators is currently underway, even as the initiative has made no progress in the last year.
International efforts, led by the US, are also on to speed up the intra-Afghan peace negotiations that kicked off on Sep.12 in Doha.
Afghanistan has been witnessing growing violence, especially involving targeted killings of civilians in urban areas, despite the ongoing peace talks and the signing of the historical Doha agreement between the US and the Taliban in February 2020.
The majority of these attacks have targeted civilians, including human rights activists, intellectuals, and journalists, including women. EFE