Five NATO troops killed in Afghan helicopter crash: NATO

A US Apache gunship helicopter

KABUL - Five members of the US-led NATO force in Afghanistan died in a helicopter crash in the south of the country on Saturday, NATO officials said, adding the cause of the incident was being investigated.

In line with NATO policy, the coalition deferred casualty identification to national authorities.

"Five International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) service members died as a result of a helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan," the force said. "ISAF is still in the process of reviewing the circumstances to determine more facts." The statement made no reference to whether any Taliban insurgents were active in the area when the helicopter came down.

Six US troops were killed when a Blackhawk chopper went down in the southern province of Zabul in December.

In the hours after the crash, US officers suggested the helicopter crashed due to a mechanical failure but that the crew may have come under fire once the chopper was on the ground.

Officials later backed away from that account, saying in January that Taliban insurgents brought down the aircraft.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility from the insurgents after Saturday's crash.