Helicopter crashes in southern Afghanistan after coming under fire

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A helicopter carrying workers from the US construction company, Louis Berger, crashed in southern Afghanistan today after coming under small arms fire, killing at least the British pilot and seriously injuring an American passenger.

"Apparently the helicopter was forced down by small arms fire," the spokesman said, adding it was not clear who had opened fire.

It was not immediately clear how many people were on board the helicopter.

Afghan military officials said the crash occurred in the Thaloqan area, about 40 miles southwest of the southern city of Kandahar. They said four people were killed.

The embassy spokesman said the crash occurred Sunday morning and there were conflicting reports about casualties.

"We have sent the investigation team to the area to find out more," said Khan Mohammad, the corps commander in Kandahar.

Louis Berger is involved in major road construction projects, including in southern Afghanistan where rebels of the former ruling Taliban regime are active.