Taliban militants fighting Afghan and NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) on Friday claimed responsibility for shooting down a chopper in Helmand province that left six service members of the alliance dead in south Afghanistan on Thursday.
Qari Yusuf Ahmadi who claims to speak for the Taliban outfit in talks with media via telephone from unknown location claimed "Taliban fighters shot down a Chinook helicopter of foreign troops on Thursday night in Zabir Kariz village which located between Zamindawar and Musa Qala districts."
Notorious for militancy and growing poppy, Helmand province with Lashkar Gah as its capital 555 km south of Afghan capital Kabul has been regarded as the hotbed of Taliban militants over the past couples of years.
The NATO-led ISAF troops in a statement released here Friday morning confirmed crashing helicopter and losing six soldiers.
"Six International Security Assistance Force service members died following a helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan yesterday," the statement said.
However, the brief statement did not reveal the nationalities of the victims and the exact place of the incident, adding that it is ISAF policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities.
Troops mainly from the United States, Britain and Australia have been stationed in the southern region within the framework of NATO-led ISAF to fight Taliban militants there.
The latest casualties bring to 23 the number of NATO-led forces who have been killed in Afghanistan so far this year.