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Moldovan Helicopter Crashes in Afghanistan, Killing Ukrainian Crewmembers, Afghan Soldiers

FILE: An Mi-8 helicopter
FILE: An Mi-8 helicopter

A helicopter owned by a Moldovan company has crashed in northern Afghanistan, killing at least 12 people, including two Ukrainian crew members and 10 Afghan soldiers, officials say.

The Mi-8 helicopter crashed on September 2 after takeoff from a military base near Mazar-e Sharif, the capital of Balkh Province, Moldova’s aviation authority said.

A statement said that two people onboard survived -- a Ukrainian member of the crew and an Afghan serviceman.

It also said that the aircraft was operated by Moldova's Valan International Cargo Charter Co.

An Afghan security source was quoted as putting the death toll at 13, with only the Ukrainian surviving the crash.

Nazer Khuda Pamiri, deputy commander of Afghan forces in northern Afghanistan, said the helicopter crashed in Dehdadi district due to "technical problems."

He said the aircraft was transporting Afghan security forces from a military base to the northwestern province of Faryab.

Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammad Radmanish said the helicopter was hired by the ministry.

The Western-backed government in Kabul has been struggling to fend off the Taliban and other militant groups since the withdrawal of most NATO combat troops in 2014.

Based on reporting by AFP, TASS, and Interfax