NATO and Afghan officials say a helicopter carrying civilian contractors crashed Tuesday in southern Afghanistan, killing all six people on board and a child on the ground.
Afghan officials say the aircraft may have been shot down, but NATO commanders say it is not clear what happened and that the cause of the crash is under investigation, Voice of America reports.
In the meantime NATO officials in Kabul said the cause of the crash was under investigation and gave no further details.
But the civil aviation authority of the former Soviet republic of Moldova said a rocket or a missile struck the Mi-26 helicopter, owned by the Moldovan air charter company Pecotox-Airi and carrying six Ukrainians. The helicopter was ferrying humanitarian aid when the crash took place, the Moldovans said in a statement, The Press Association reports.
Meanwhile reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan - Military officials said Tuesday that six foreign contractors and four Western soldiers, including two U.S. Marines, were killed in what is fast becoming one of the most lethal months for coalition forces in Afghanistan.
Military officials also reported the deaths Monday of two Marines in Helmand, where the biggest U.S.-led military operation since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001 is underway. In addition, an Italian soldier was killed Tuesday in a roadside bombing in Farah province in western Afghanistan, the Italian military said.
Another Western soldier was killed by a roadside bomb in eastern Afghanistan, where most of the foreign troops are American. The soldier's nationality was not immediately released, The Los Angeles Times reports.