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    ISAF helicopter makes emergency landing

    GARDEZ (PAN):  An International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) helicopter made a hard landing in the southeastern province of Paktia on Monday morning, the alliance said in a statement.

    ISAF has launched an investigation to determine the cause of the incident, the statement said.

    “Initial reporting indicates there was no enemy activity in the area at the time of the incident,” the statement added.

    The statement neither revealed the exact location of the incident nor whether there had been casualties among the crewmembers, but an official of the 505th Spin Ghar police zone said that the helicopter crashed in Zurmat district of the province. ISAF troops cordoned off the area after the incident and did not allow anybody to visit the scene, he said.

    More helicopters came to the area, where some of them landed and others circled, said area resident Rahimullah.

    Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed that the Taliban shot down the chopper in Sahak area of Zurmat district, killing all 33 passengers.

    It was the third ISAF helicopter to have crashed or made an emergency landing in the past three days.

    On Saturday, Taliban shot down an ISAF Chinook helicopter in the Syedabad District of central Maidan Wardak province, killing 31 US and seven Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers.

    Since the beginning of 2011, nearly 20 helicopters belonging to Afghan or foreign troops have crashed or made emergency landings in Afghanistan.