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Afghanistan: 7 NATO soldiers die in single day in attacks

12-03-2013

KABUL, (Xinhua): Up to seven NATO soldiers lost their lives in two different incidents in a single day Monday, the authorities said Tuesday.

Five soldiers with the NATO-led coalition forces were killed late Monday night when a military helicopter went down in southern Afghanistan. "Five International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) service members died following a helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan yesterday,"the NATO-led ISAF said in a statement issued here Tuesday morning.

The statement ruled out involvement of Taliban and other insurgent groups in the incident, saying"the cause of the crash is under investigation, however, initial reporting indicates there was no enemy activity in the area at the time of the incident."

The statement gave neither the nationalities of the victims nor the details about the incident under the ISAF policy.

Earlier in the day, the Kandahar provincial government in a statement released to the media said the chopper was crashed in Kandahar province. "A coalition Black Hawk helicopter crashed in Daman district lying in eastern part of provincial capital Kandahar city at around 11 p.m. local time Monday."

The statement added that the weather in the crash area was poor in the province 450 km south of Afghan capital of Kabul.

The incident took place hours after an apparent insider attack claimed the lives of two U.S. soldiers and three Afghan policemen in eastern Wardak province 35 km west of Kabul. "Two U.S. Forces-Afghanistan service members died in eastern Afghanistan today when an individual wearing an Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) uniform turned a weapon on U.S. and Afghan forces,"the U.S. forces confirmed in a statement.

If the attacker, who also killed in the shooting, confirmed to be a member of ANSF, Monday's shooting will be the third incident of the so-called"green-on-blue" insider attack this year.

On Friday, a civilian-contractor with the ISAF was killed and four U.S. soldiers were wounded when three Afghan army soldiers turned their weapons against coalition forces in eastern Kapisa province 65 km north of Kabul.

One British soldier was killed and four others were wounded in such incident in January this year.

The Taliban insurgent group, which has been waging an insurgency since its regime was toppled by a U.S-led invasion in late 2001, has often claimed responsibility for the insider attacks but the coalition military officials have recently said that about 25 percent of the insider attacks are in some manner related to the Taliban-led insurgency.

They said the factors that contribute to the green-on-blue shootings are wide-ranging from infiltration and impersonation to personal grievances.

In 2012, up to 61 foreign soldiers were killed in 45 green-on- blue attacks across Afghanistan.

Currently about 100,000 NATO-led forces, with 68,000 of them Americans, are stationed in the country to stop the Taliban from returning to power.

The latest casualties bring the number of foreign soldiers killed in Afghanistan to 18 this year.

Editor: Lu Hui

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