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July 21, 2009

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UK fighter crashes at NATO airfield

A BRITISH fighter jet crashed inside NATO's largest base in southern Afghanistan yesterday in the second major crash there in two days.

Fourteen Afghan civilians died in two other incidents, including three killed when German troops opened fire, Afghan officials said.

The Royal Air Force GR4 Tornado crashed inside Kandahar Airfield during takeoff at 7:20am, said Captain Ruben Hoornveld, a spokesman for the NATO-led force. The crew's two members ejected and were being treated for unspecified injuries.

The Tornado is the fourth aircraft to go down in Afghanistan in three days and the sixth this month. Military officials say there doesn't appear to be a common reason for the spate of crashes.

Officials could not say why the plane went down. The jet caught fire and emergency personnel responded.

In the northern province of Kunduz, meanwhile, German forces killed three Afghan civilians on Sunday when they opened fire on a pickup truck they suspected contained Taliban fighters, said provincial governor Mohammad Omar.

The German army said two civilians were killed and two seriously wounded and that the forces opened fire because the vehicle was approaching at high speed and ignored warning shots. It wasn't clear why the death tolls differed.

In the west, in Farah province, a van full of civilians hit a roadside bomb Sunday, killing 11 people on board, including a child and his mother, said Mohammad Younis Rasouli, the deputy governor.


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