Nine-die in Afghanistan-helicopter-crash

There were two survivors – an Afghan National Army soldier and a U.S. civilian – who were transported to a military medical centre, Nato said.
The crash occurred in south-eastern Zabul province.

It is not believed that there were any British casualties, although nationalities have not been confirmed.
The deaths raise to 32 the number of international troops killed so far this month in Afghanistan.

Two U.S. service crew were killed in the most recent helicopter crash in southern Helmand in July, which the Taliban claimed to have caused.  In April, three service members were killed when a U.S. Air Force Osprey went down seven miles from Qalat, capital of Zabul, south-west of Kabul.

It was the first crash of the costly tilt-rotor aircraft in a combat zone, the U.S. military said.
The deaths took the number killed in 2010 to at least 529, up from 521 in 2009.

* ‘They did not die in vain’: Cameron’s promise as British troops leave Sangin after four bloody years.  HIn July 2009, two Canadian troops and a Briton were killed in a helicopter crash, also in Zabul.  Helicopters are used extensively by both Nato and the Afghan government forces to transport and supply troops spread out across a mountainous country with few roads.

Losses have been relatively light, despite insurgent fire and difficult conditions, and most crashes have been accidents caused by maintenance problems or factors such as dust. Tributes pour in for ‘inspirational’ British soldier. The crash comes as the Ministry of Defence released the name of the latest British soldier killed in Afghanistan.

Sergeant Andrew Jones, 35, of the Royal Engineers, died in the south of the country on Saturday. His wife said that his death would leave a ‘gaping hole’ in his family’s life.
andrew jones ‘Tireless and committed’: Sergeant Andrew Jones, of the Royal Engineers, who was killed in Afghanistan on Saturday

Sergeant Jones died alongside Trooper Andrew Howarth, 20, of The Queen’s Royal Lancers, when their Jackal armoured vehicle was targeted by an insurgent bomb in the Lashkar Gah district of Helmand Province on Saturday.Sgt Jones, from Newport, South Wales, leaves his wife, Joanne, and children, Natasha, Caitlin and Liam. His wife said in a statement: ‘Andrew was a happy, funny and caring man.
‘He was a loving husband, father and son, and he will leave a gaping hole in our lives.’

Sgt Jones, who previously completed a tour in Kosovo, was serving in Afghanistan as a reconnaissance engineer with the Queen’s Royal Lancers. His comrades described him as a dedicated father and patriotic Welshman with a passion for rugby. Lieutenant Colonel Martin Todd, commanding officer of the Queen’s Royal Lancers, said: ‘His courage and good-humoured leadership inspired all those in his troop, particularly when the going was hard.

‘He died serving his corps and country while protecting ordinary Afghans.

‘A proud Welshman, who exhibited all the fortitude of his countrymen, he was at heart a devoted family man.’

Major Ben Cossens, officer commanding Fondouk Squadron of the Queen’s Royal Lancers, said Sgt Jones was ‘a tremendous soldier and a tireless and committed engineer’ with an ability to lift his fellow soldiers’ spirits.

Defence Secretary Liam Fox said: ‘I was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Sergeant Andrew Jones.

‘His colleagues praise him as a tough, resolute soldier, a skilled engineer and an inspirational leader of men.

‘His sacrifice, protecting our national security, will not be forgotten. I extend my deepest sympathies to his family and loved ones.’

A total of 337 British troops have died since the start of operations in Afghanistan in 2001.

Royal Marines handed over command of the deadly Sangin district in northern Helmand Province – where nearly a third of UK deaths in the campaign have occurred – to the U.S. Marines on Monday.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1313842/Nine-die-Afghanistan-helicopter-crash.html#ixzz10A6ICX2H

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