Turkish helicopter crashes in Afghanistan; 14 dead

RAHIM FAIEZ SUZAN FRASER Associated Press Published:

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- A Turkish military helicopter crashed into a house near the Afghan capital Friday, killing 12 Turkish soldiers on board and two young girls on the ground, Turkish and Afghan officials said.

The helicopter, a Sikorsky, was on a mission for U.S.-led NATO forces when it went down near Kabul, the Turkish military said in a statement.

"Twelve of our military personnel on board were martyred," it said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters it appeared that the helicopter crashed while trying to make an emergency landing and that the pilot tried to avoid houses.

"It is a grave accident, our grief is deep," he said.

There was no enemy activity in the area at the time of the crash, said NATO.

The helicopter clipped one house and then crashed into another, said Sayed Qayum, an Afghan resident who witnessed the aircraft go down.

The crash blew several large holes in the two-story brick house that was hit. Parts of the building were scorched black by fire, and wreckage of the helicopter was scattered outside. One piece had a red and white Turkish flag painted on it.

The Afghan Interior Ministry said the two people who were killed on the ground were young girls. A woman and another child were wounded, it said.

The aircraft went down in Hassian Khail area of Bagrami district of Kabul province.

The crash was the deadliest in Afghanistan for NATO forces since August, when 30 American troops died when a Chinook helicopter was apparently shot down in Wardak province in the center of the country.


Fraser reported from Ankara, Turkey. Associated Press writer Amir Shah contributed to this report from Kabul.