ISAF soldier killed in Kabul chopper crash

May 30, 2014 - 12:00:00 am

KABUL: A member of the US-led Nato coalition in Afghanistan has been killed in a helicopter crash in the south of the country, the force said yesterday.

The accident comes a month after five British soldiers were killed when their Lynx chopper came down on a routine flight.

"An International Security Assistance Force service member died as a result of a helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan on  Wednesday," ISAF said.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends affected by this tragic event."

Mohammad Mohsin, a spokesman for the Afghan army in Kandahar province, said the Chinook helicopter crashed after hitting a telecommunications mast while taking off in Maruf district around midnight.

Aircraft crashes have been a regular risk for the ISAF mission, with troops relying heavily on air transport to traverse Afghanistan's rugged terrain to fight the Taliban.

The insurgents have on occasion brought down ISAF helicopters, notably a US Chinook in 2011, which killed 30 Americans, but such incidents have been rare.

On 26 April, the five British troops died when their helicopter crashed in Kandahar province in what London's Ministry of Defence said at the time appeared to be a "tragic accident".

Nato handed over responsibility for Afghanistan's security to local forces last June, but the coalition continues to provide them with training and support, particularly air power.

The majority of ISAF's 51,000 troops will leave Afghanistan this year, and some fear a resurgence of the Taliban, who were ousted from power by a US-led invasion in 2001.

US President Barack Obama on Tuesday said his country's 32,000-strong troop deployment would be scaled back to 9,800 by the start of 2015 and end entirely by the end of 2016.

But Obama's plan depends on Afghanistan signing a long-delayed security agreement.   AFP