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Afghanistan Mi-17 helicopter crashes in Balkh province, killing 7

At least seven Afghan military personnel were killed when the helicopter they were traveling in crashed in the northern Afghanistan province of Balkh on Tuesday, October 15, officials said.

According to the Afghan defense ministry, the Mi-17 Afghan air force chopper crashed due to “technical faults.”

“All the seven crew members including four pilots were martyred in the incident,” the ministry said in a statement.

The helicopter had been on its way to a training mission, traveling from an army base near the provincial capital Mazar-i-Sharif when it crash landed on the outskirts of the city, officials said.

Afghanistan has a small air force equipped with fixed-wing planes and helicopters, including aircraft acquired from the United States, the Czech Republic, India and elsewhere.

The Mi-17 is a medium twin-turbine multipurpose transport helicopter and is the primary rotary wing platform operated by the Afghan Air Force. The Mi-17 designation is solely for export, and in Russia it is known as the Mi-8.

It has a crew of three as well as door gunners, and can carry up to 36 troops or 12 stretchers or 18 walking patients. Rosboronexport says its range without external fuel tanks is 675 km (420 miles), its service ceiling is 6,000 m (19,700 ft), and its maximum payload weight is 4,000 kg (8,800 lb). According to a January 2018 report by the U.S. Department of Defense Inspector General, Afghan Mi-17s can carry 24 passengers and have a cargo capacity of 6,620 pounds (3,000 kg).

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

With reporting from AFP

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