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16 Mar, 2012 08:28

Afghan women and children killed in NATO chopper crash (VIDEO)

Four Afghan civilians and 12 Turkish soldiers were killed in a crash involving a NATO-operated Turkish chopper. The vehicle came down on a house and burst into flames in the Bagrami district, close to the capital Kabul.

The helicopter was operated by the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force), acknowledged the spokesman for the US-led NATO force in Kabul.The Turkish General Staff confirmed that twelve of their military personnel on board the helicopter “have been martyred.” An Afghan police officer said the civilians residing in the destroyed house apparently fell prey to a catastrophic technical failure.“We are investigating the cause of the crash but there were no reports of insurgent activity in the area,” said interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi.

Turkey's contingent in Afghanistan does not take part in military operations. The task of the over 1,800 Turkish officers and soldiers serving in the country is limited to patrolling, mostly around the capital Kabul.The incident is believed to have been the deadliest one for Turkey’s mission in Afghanistan during the decade-long military campaign, the Turkish military announced.Due to the non-combatant origin of the Turkish mission in Afghanistan, Turkish public opinion has never been overly critical of the country’s involvement in Operation Enduring.However, an event of this nature could quickly sour public opinion.

The crash occurred at a time when tempers are running high in Afghanistan following several high-profile scandals. Troubles began between the occupation American forces and the local population after the accidental burning of Korans at the Bagram prison.

But the tensions might have reached their breaking point following the massacre of 16 Afghan civilians by at least on rogue US soldier.