Four troops die in Afghan copter crash

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The Independent Online

Three Australian soldiers and one American service member were killed today in a helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan, officials said.

Including Monday's crash, at least 57 international troops, including 35 Americans, have died so far this month, a rate that could make June among the deadliest for US and other international forces in the nearly nine-year war. The deadliest for the international force was July 2009 when 75 troops, including 44 Americans, were killed.

NATO forces said in a statement that the crash was being investigated but there were no indications of enemy involvement.

Australia's defense forces chief confirmed the Australian deaths and said seven other Australian soldiers were wounded in the crash in Kandahar province, two of them badly.

Australia has some 1,500 troops in Afghanistan alongside NATO forces. Today's deaths take Australia's military death toll in Afghanistan to 16.

US forces spokesman Lt. Col. Joseph T. Breasseale confirmed that the fourth service member killed was American. He did not provide further details.

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