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On Sunday, 19 July 2009, a Russian-built Mil Mi-8 transport helicopter crashes while trying to take off from Kundahar International Airport in Afghanistan. The helicopter had been chartered by NATO, from the Russian company Vertical-T, and was capable of seating 24. It was used to ferry civilian contractors and supplies from the international airport to the country’s many small military outposts. Kandahar International Airport is NATO’s largest air base in southern Afghanistan.


NATO officials confirmed that the 16 killed in the crash were all civilians. Five additional civilian passengers were injured. No military personnel were involved. A statement from NATO’s International Security Assistance Force said that, while the cause of the accident remains unknown, insurgent action has been ruled out.


This is the second helicopter accident to occur in Afghanistan within a week’s time. Earlier in the week, a US military helicopter crashed when it attempted an emergency landing in Kunar province. The US military has stated that enemy fire was not involved.


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