KABUL: Nine army soldiers were killed when their helicopter crashed into another army chopper during takeoff in Helmand, the Ministry of Defense said on Wednesday, as intense fighting continues in the province.
The choppers collided due to technical issues and crashed while they were taking off in Helmand’s Nawa district early Wednesday morning. Nine soldiers including pilots were killed in the crash, said the Defense Ministry in a statement.
Spokesman of Helmand Governor Omar Zwak confirmed the crash, saying two helicopters flied to Nawa district to transport wounded soldiers, but they collided during takeoff and crash landed.
Referring to the conflict raging in Helmand, Zwak said the fighting has ended in Helmand, but insurgents have movements on the outskirts of Lashkargah city and its adjacent district. Clampdown operations are underway by security forces to suppress the insurgents and oust them from Helmand, he said.
Security forces conducted several airstrikes on Tuesday night in Babaji and other areas, killing and wounding 35 Taliban militants, he said. Clashes also left 4 security forces killed and six wounded.
acting Defense Minister Gen. Assadullah Khalid visited Helmand province on Wednesday and discussed security situation and new plans with senior local officials.