Eight killed as army helicopter crashes in Afghanistan
Eight people have been killed when an Afghan military helicopter crashed in the northern Baghlan province, officials said.
Five crew members and three army soldiers were killed in the crash, according to Afghan defence ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri.
The crash took place in the Dand Ghori district while the helicopter was supplying a military base, he said. Mr Waziri blamed a technical problem with the aircraft and said he rejected any claims by insurgents that they downed the helicopter.
One helicopter was on the ground while a second was patrolling in the air above, when "suddenly a technical problem caused the helicopter to catch fire and hit the ground", Mr Waziri said.
However, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid issued a statement claiming responsibility for downing the helicopter in which he said the aircraft was shot down by fighters.
Two provincial officials in Baghlan also said that the helicopter had been shot down by insurgents while supplying the military base with food, water and ammunition.
Qarghan Tapa base has been surrounded by insurgents for a week, leaving more than a hundred soldiers stuck inside, according to the officials. They said all roads to the base have been shut off by the insurgents and the only way to supply them is by air.
Taliban insurgents have increased their attacks on Afghan security forces in Baghlan and neighbouring Kunduz province in recent months.