Helicopter crash in Afghanistan.
Image Credit: Wakil Kohsar/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
On Thursday, the Defense Ministry of Afghanistan reported that overnight a helicopter crashed killing nine Afghan military personnel in the Behsud district of Maidan Wradak province. The MI-17 helicopter had four crew members and five security personnel.
It is believed that the helicopter downed by local militias operating in the area. The area is controlled by militia forces led by Abdul Ghani Alipur. Clashes between government forces and militias have escalated recently.
An Aide for Mr. Alipur said,
There was fighting, helicopters were targeting us, and when the helicopter was firing rockets, we had to shoot at it,”Mr. Alipor Aide.
The aide also added that even though they shot at the helicopter, it is still unknown if the helicopter fell due to the shooting or due to technical problems.
The President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani did not put the blame directly on the militia group but said that the helicopter was shot down, and that they will retaliate.
I am assuring you that the perpetrators will be severely punished. Afghan security forces’ blood will never be wasted.President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani.
The fighting between the government, militia groups and Taliban is occuring at a time when NATO and US are withdrawing their troops. By May 1, 2021 it is expected that 11,000 US and NATO troops will be withdrawn from the country under a 2020 peace deal between United States and Afghanistan.
The Afghan government is attempting to bolster is security forces by forming alliances with strong local militia groups in an attempt to combat Taliban, but some strong militia groups are focusing on keeping their territory safe, in case the country ends up in chaos after the troops withdrawal.