A NATO helicopter crashed Tuesday in southern Afghanistan, killing nine international troops in a region where forces are ramping up pressure on Taliban insurgents. It was the deadliest chopper crash for the coalition in four years.
A "large number" of Americans were among those who died in the crash, according to a senior military official in Washington, who spoke on condition of anonymity because not all relatives have been notified. He said it remained unclear whether troops of other nationalities were among the fatalities, The Associated Press reports.
Tuesday's crash occurred near the district center of Diachopan District, according to Muhammad Jan Rasoolyar, a spokesman for the provincial governor. Zabul, which lies just to the east of Kandahar Province and borders Pakistan, is sparsely populated with large swathes of desert, low mountains and small villages.
The crash also injured one NATO service member, an Afghan National Army soldier and an American civilian.
Six Afghan security guards also died Tuesday when a roadside bomb exploded under their vehicle as they were driving in the Shenwari District of Parwan Province, according to Gen. Basir Salangi, the provincial governor.
The security guards, who worked for Haji Naveed Construction Company, were guarding workers who were paving a 45-mile stretch of road that connects Parwan with neighboring provinces, New York Times reports.