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Afghanistan army helicopter crashes in Farah, killing all 25 on board

An Afghan Army helicopter crashed in the west of the country, killing all 25 people on board, local officials said.

The helicopter crashed in Farah province on Wednesday, October 31 with two pilots and 23 passengers on board.

The Taliban said it downed the helicopter in the Anar Dara district but Nasir Mehr, a spokesperson for the provincial governor, blamed the crash on bad weather, AFP reported.

Farid Bakhtawar, head of Farah provincial council, council member Jamila Amini, and Nematullah Khalil, deputy commander of the western military corps, Tolo news reported.

Provincial council member Dadullah Qaneh said the helicopter hit a mountain peak in poor weather en route to neighboring Herat province.

Senior government and military officials often travel by helicopter in regions where the Taliban has a large presence.

It is unclear which type of helicopter crashed. The Afghan Air Force has two transport helicopters in its inventory – the Russia-built Mi-17 and the U.S.-made UH-60 Black Hawk, which will eventually replace the Mi-17. However, Black Hawk operations are generally limited to Helmand and Kandahar in southern Afghanistan, as well as training flights near Kabul.

Last month, an Afghan Air Force Mi-17 flying to Farah from neighboring Herat province caught fire after making an emergency landing in Khak-i-Safid, killing both pilots as well as two sharpshooters and an engineer who were on board. That incident was blamed on technical issues.

NATO refurbishes Afghan Mi-17 helicopters in Europe as shift to Black Hawk continues

With reporting from AFP

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