A U.S. military helicopter has crashed during an anti-militant operation in southern Afghanistan, killing its five-member American crew.

The U.S. military says the Chinook aircraft went down early Sunday in Zabul province shortly after dropping off troops involved in the mission.

A U.S. military spokesman, Colonel Jim Yonts, says the cause of the crash is under investigation, and that troops are at the scene providing security for recovery operation.

A Taleban spokesman, Abdul Latif Hakimi, claimed responsibility for shooting down the aircraft, but the U.S. military says there is no indication hostile fire was involved.

Two other U.S. Chinooks crashed in Afghanistan earlier this year. One of the large, twin-rotor aircraft was shot down in June, killing all 16 Americans aboard. Another Chinook crashed in a sandstorm in April, killing 15 American troops and three civilians.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.