A Turkish military helicopter crashed into a house near the Afghan capital today, killing 12 Turkish soldiers on board and two girls on the ground, Turkish and Afghan officials say. It was by far the deadliest incident involving Turkish soldiers in Afghanistan, where they have a noncombat role. The helicopter, a Sikorsky, was on a mission for US-led NATO forces when it went down near Kabul, the Turkish military says in a statement.
There was no enemy activity in the area at the time of the crash, NATO says. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the helicopter was one of two that took off today. "Unfortunately, the one in front came down for an unknown reason," he said, adding that there were officers and noncommissioned officers on board. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters it appeared that the helicopter crashed while trying to make an emergency landing and that the pilot tried to avoid houses.