A helicopter carrying civilian contractors working for foreign troops in Afghanistan crashed on Tuesday killing at least six people on board and a child on the ground, NATO and local officials said.
It was not immediately clear why the helicopter came down in the Sangin district of Helmand province, where US Marines, British and Afghan forces are pressing assaults against Taliban strongholds in the south in the run-up to key elections.
“At around 9:00 am (0430 GMT) on Tuesday morning, a private helicopter has crashed outside Sangin military base... we have at least six people killed,” said a spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).
“The passengers were all civilians,” he added, speaking from the biggest NATO base in southern Afghanistan at Kandahar.
Another ISAF spokesman said the aircraft was carrying civilian contractors, but their nationalities were not immediately known and it was not clear how many people were on board.
Daud Ahmadi, a spokesman for the Helmand provincial administration, said an Afghan child was killed and a man injured near the site of the crash.
Ahmadi could not give further details but “the child and the man were not part of the passengers, they were from a nearby village and killed as a result of the helicopter crash,” he told AFP.