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Taliban Claim to Shoot Down Afghan Army Helicopter

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KABUL – Afghan Taliban have claimed to shot a military helicopter in Baghlan province of northern Afghanistan, killing all seven people onboard.

Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, claimed that RPG-armed fighters shot down Russian-made Mi17 helicopter when it was heading toward a base in the Dand-e-Ghori district of the conflict-gripped Baghlan province in northern Afghanistan.

A defence ministry official, Dawlat Waziri, confirmed the incident, citing “technical fault” as the reason behind.

“Around 4 am, two M-17 helicopters were supplying a base in Qorghan Tepa of Baghlan, and one of them caught fire due to technical failure and crashed,” the defence ministry said in a statement.

“Four crew members and three army soldiers were martyred in the incident,” it added.

Insurgents have recently stepped up attacks on government forces after storming into the neighbouring Kunduz province city on Monday. They also tried to overrun Pul-e-Khumri, the capital of Baghlan, but government forces managed to thwart the attack.

It was not possible to independently assess the authenticity of Taliban’s claim because of communication problems and a lack of access.

U.N. officials say the fighting in northern Afghan provinces has undermined the flow of traffic to these areas and caused power outages, food shortages and communication disconnections with the rest of the country, as well as uprooting thousands of civilians.

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