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November 1, 2018

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25 dead in Afghanistan chopper crash

An army helicopter crashed in southwestern Afghanistan yesterday, killing 25 people on board, including a top commander and the head of the provincial council key in fighting off a Taliban attack in May, officials said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility.

Two army helicopters were on their way from Farah province to neighboring Herat when one lost control in low visibility and crashed into a mountain, said Naser Mehri, a spokesman for the provincial governor.

Among the passengers were Nematullah Khalil, deputy army corps commander for the western region, and Farid Bakhtawar, the outspoken head of Farah’s provincial council. The other victims, apart from the crew, were soldiers and council members.

Bakhtawar was a major figure in fighting the Taliban in the battle for the city of Farah which the militants besieged and threatened to take over in May.

The Taliban are seeking to remove the government and reimpose strict Islamic law after their ouster by US-led forces in 2001.

A suicide bomber blew himself up near the gate of Afghanistan’s largest prison yesterday, killing at least six people, but there was no immediate claim of responsibility.

The sprawling Pul-e-Charkhi prison in Kabul houses hundreds of inmates, including scores of Taliban. Interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish said the attacker detonated his explosive near a vehicle carrying prison employees.


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