The Afghan Defense Ministry has confirmed the death of nine military operatives who lost their lives when two army helicopters collided on Tuesday.
The two Soviet-era Mi-17 helicopters were transporting wounded soldiers who sustained injuries in the fight against Taliban militants in the southern Helmand province of the country when the aircrafts developed technical faults.
The helicopters developed technical problems while taking off in Nawa district late Tuesday, killing nine people who were part of the Afghan crew and soldiers on board the two aircraft.
Omer Zwak, a spokesman for Helmand’s provincial governor, confirmed that the helicopters that crashed Tuesday were carrying wounded troops.
Three local officials in Helmand province who spoke on condition of anonymity explained that the helicopters were deploying Afghan commandos to repel a Taliban attack in Nawa district, and were evacuating wounded soldiers on their return flight.
They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media about military activities, Washington Post reports.
Thousands of Afghan civilians have fled Nawa and Nad Ali districts because of the fighting, said Atiqullah, a local community leader from Nawa district, who like many Afghans goes by just one name.
“Nothing is left to us, we lost everything, including our home, property and livestock,” he said. He and his family fled to stay with relatives in Lashkar Gah.
“The Taliban have launched attacks against security checkpoints, and they control most parts of Nawa district,” he added.