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Dublin: 10°C Wednesday 4 August 2021

Helicopter crash makes 2010 worst year in Afghan War

Elections could help coalition forces determine how much longer they’ll keep troops in Afghanistan as death toll mounts.

Image: Brennan Linsley/AP/Press Association Images

NINE NATO TROOPS HAVE been killed in a helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan, making 2010 the deadliest year for western troops so far in the war.

After nine years at war, at least 529 coalition troops have been killed in Afghanistan so far this year. Last year had been the deadliest at that point in the war, with 521 troops killed, according to iCasualties.

The nationalities of today’s casualties has not been released, but the Telegraph cites military sources as saying the dead are not British. NATO said there were no reports of enemy fire before the aircraft came down.

Election impact

The crash comes as the Taliban steps up its campaign of violence, intended to disrupt the Afghan parliamentary elections from going ahead. Violence against civilians and the military have soared in recent months, according to the New York Times.

Allegations of fraud have dogged the elections, with reports of irregularities surrounding vote cards and the indelible ink used to mark the fingers of people after voting. A poll watchdog has reported receiving at least 2,988 formal complaints, and a further 1,700 verbal complaints, about the elections.

The count is expected to continue for weeks, but the process of holding the elections could impact on how long remaining coalition forces plan to keep their troops in the country.

Some coalition forces have already begun their withdrawal. Dutch troops went home in August, while Canadian and German forces will begin withdrawing next year. Obama is due to hold his Afghan war strategy review in December.

British forces handed over operations for an area of the deadly Helmand province to US troops earlier this week. One-third of British troop losses since 2001 occurred there.

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