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US Military Helicopter Makes Hard Landing in Eastern Afghanistan

  • Ayaz Gul

FILE -Soldiers with the U.S. Army's 2nd Battalion 27th Infantry Regiment based in Hawaii, pull security as a Blackhawk helicopter lands during an assessment mission.

A U.S. UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter suffered mechanical problems that resulted in a hard landing during operations near Achin, Nangarhar early this morning, a spokesman for NATO's Resolute Support mission said.

Rescue personnel safely recovered the crew. Two crew members suffered minor injuries in the landing and are receiving treatment at a coalition medical facility, the spokesman said.

The aircraft is being recovered and the incident is under investigation.

Earlier, a Taliban spokesman claimed the helicopter crashed shortly after “foreign occupation forces” launched a pre-dawn operation against fighters of the Islamist insurgency in the Spin Gear area of the province.

He asserted the accident killed all the people on board and forced the foreigners to abandon their raid.

The insurgent group has often made claims that later turned out to be baseless.

The Afghan region where the U.S. military was conducting operations also hosts militants linked to the Islamic State terrorist group.

Meanwhile, officials say heavy fighting erupted in Saydabad district of the central-eastern Maidan Wardak province after Taliban insurgents assaulted government outposts there.

The clashes have blocked traffic on the main highway, which links the Afghan capital, Kabul, to southern Afghanistan, a provincial government spokesman, Abdur Rehman Mangal, told VOA.

Hundreds of vehicles, including passenger buses and cargo trucks transporting essential commodities, have been stranded with many of them returning to Kabul, drivers said.

Ahead of launching their attack, Taliban insurgents overnight warned transporters and passengers not to travel on the Kabul-Kandahar highway, residents and traders said.

The insurgents have made territorial gains and inflicted heavy casualties on Afghan forces during this year’s fighting season. A U.S. government agency reported Tuesday a total of 2,531 Afghan security forces were killed and 4,238 wounded in the first four months of 2017.

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan, or SIGAR, says the figures were consistent with casualty figures from the same period last year. Afghan forces lost about 6,800 personnel in the first 10 months of 2016, SIGAR said in its report for the previous year.

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