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NATO Helicopter Crash Kills 9 in Afghanistan

A medevac helicopter lifts off from Camp Nathan Smith in Kandahar city, carrying an unidentified NATO soldier on 9 June 2010

NATO says a helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan has killed nine coalition service members, making 2010 the deadliest year for international forces since the war began.

Afghan officials say the aircraft went down Tuesday in Daychopan district of Zabul province. NATO says a coalition service member, an Afghan soldier and a U.S. civilian were injured.

NATO did not give the soldiers' nationalities, but unnamed U.S. military officials said a number of those killed were Americans. The NATO contingent in Zabul is dominated by U.S. forces.

The cause of the crash was not immediately clear.

The Taliban claims to have shot down the helicopter, but NATO said there were no reports of enemy fire in the area. The militant group often makes exaggerated or unsubstantiated claims about attacks on foreign forces.

Tuesday's crash brings the number of international troops killed in Afghanistan this year to 529. That is the highest number of deaths in one year since the war began in 2001.

The tally was provided by, an independent website that tracks war deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan.

At least 2,097 coalition troops have been killed since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan.

Elsewhere in southern Afghanistan, NATO said a joint Afghan and international force killed 11 insurgents in Kandahar province during a two-day operation that ended on Monday.

In the north, Afghan officials say five construction workers were killed and at least three others wounded Tuesday in a roadside bombing in Parwan province.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday marked United Nations' International Peace Day by urging militants to lay down their arms and join the peace process to help rebuild Afghanistan.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.