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Afghanistan-US helicopter deaths

14 Americans die in two Afghan helicopter crashes

Article published on the 2009-10-26 Latest update 2009-10-26 15:56 TU

Afghan police disperse demonstrators protesting the alleged torching of the Koran by foreign troops(Photo: Reuters)

Afghan police disperse demonstrators protesting the alleged torching of the Koran by foreign troops
(Photo: Reuters)

Fourteen American troops and civilians were killed in two separate helicopter crashes on Monday. Nato forces said that enemy fire was not the cause, although the Taliban claimed responsibility for the downing of the choppers.

Seven soldiers and three embassy employees died in a crash that occurred in Western Afghanistan, in Baghdis province.

The Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) said the troops were searching an area suspected of hiding rebels involved in the drug trade when the collision occurred.

In a separate incident, two coalition helicopters collided in southern Afghanistan, killing four soldiers. Some 26 people were injured in the collision accident, including 14 Afghan Army soldiers, 11 American troops and one civilian.

The Isaf says it killed several rebels and detained six suspected militants on Sunday in four separate operations in eastern and southern Afghanistan.

Meanwhile in the capital Kabul, Afghans protested on the streets for a second day on Wednesday, after reports that foreign troops had desecrated a Koran by burning it.

Afghan police opened fire and used water cannon against about 300 protesters. Police chief Sayed Abdul Ghafar Sayedzada said the men were intent on marching on parliament.

Interview: correspondent Jonathan Boone, Kabul

26/10/2009 by Jessica Phelan


"It's very unusual, particularly for so many students to be involved as they were on Sunday," Boone says.

"In general the students at the various universities in Kabul have not been terribly politicised so it is unusual it's taken a lot of people by surprise".

Boone says that there is speculation that the protests might be linked to the election and says that there is "growing irritation at what is widely seen as foreign interference in the election".

"As we go into the second round which is scheduled for 7 November, many people - who already think that foreign officials in the UN and elsewhere have had too much say in the way this election has unfolded will want to make the point - will want to lay down a mark that they don't want to see any more interference," he says.

Also on Monday, second-round election candidate Abdullah Abdullah asked that the head of the Independent Election Commission, Azizullah Ludin, be fired before the November vote.

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