In a tragic accident, an Afghan air force helicopter reportedly crashed in northern Baghlan province, killing at least eight army personnel on Sunday.
According to Afghan defence ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri, five crew members and three soldiers were killed in the accident. Officials denied chances of any attack, citing a technical problem with the aircraft.
“An Afghan army helicopter crashed in northern Baghlan province due to some technical problem,” he said. “An investigation is under way,” Waziri said.
The Russian-made Mi-17 helicopter was reportedly supplying a military base while it crashed in Dand Ghori district of Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimAfed the responsibility for the crash, claiming the aircraft was shot down by their fighters.
According to Mujahid, the aircraft had been trying to resupply an Afghan government checkpoint that was surrounded by insurgents.
Two provincial officials in Baghlan also confirmed the possibility of an attack. Officials said the helicopter had been shot down by insurgents while it was supplying the military base with food, water and ammunition, media reports revealed.
In the recent past, Taliban insurgents have reportedly increased their attacks on Afghan security forces in northern Baghlan and Kunduz province.
Mahmood Haqmal, spokesman for Baghlan’s governor, confirmed that the Taliban forces have increased attacks in Dand Ghori and Baghlan-e Murkazi districts. As a result of these excessive military activities, some civilians have been displaced from these regions, Haqmal added.
Earlier this year, the country’s security forces have carried out a major operation to clear Dand-e-Ghori from the Taliban.