A helicopter crash in Afghanistan late Friday has killed one U.S. service member and left six other crew members injured, NATO said in a statement.
The crash happened in Afghanistan’s eastern Logar province and “was not the result of enemy action,” according to the statement. Right after the accident, a spokesperson for the Taliban, who are said to control about half of Logar province, claimed responsibility for the crash. That claim was refuted by NATO.
“We can confirm the crash was not the result of enemy action,” NATO’s Resolute Support Mission said in a statement. “We have full accountability for all personnel and the crash site has been secured.”
The helicopter had transported troops to the volatile Kharwar district for a night raid and hit a tree, forcing an emergency landing, Salim Saleh, the provincial governor’s spokesman, told Stars and Stripes.
However, Resolute Support said it is still investigating the circumstances surrounding the crash and will release further details “as appropriate.”
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our comrade,” Gen. John Nicholson, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said. “On behalf of all of Resolute Support, our heartfelt sympathies go out to the families and friends of our fallen comrade and those injured in this unfortunate event.”
This death now brings the total number of U.S. service members killed in Afghanistan this year up to 12. More than 2,300 American service members have been killed since the war began 16 years ago.
NATO said an investigation into Friday’s incident had been launched.