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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 102

26 soldiers dead as Pak Army helicopter crashes in tribal agency

By Farzana Shah-Asian Tribune Correspondent in Pakistan

Peshawar, 04 July, ( A military transport helicopter of Pakistan army went down and crashed on the border between Khyber and Orakzai tribal region on Friday afternoon, killing all the twenty-six security personnel on board, a government official said.

The official said the helicopter crashed due to a technical fault.

A government official said the Russian-made M-17 transport helicopter crashed in a mountainous area, some 20 km from Peshawar, on the border between Khyber and Orakzai tribal region.

'All those on board the helicopter have been killed,' the official said. He attributed the cause of the crash to 'some technical fault.'

The official described the area where the helicopter crashed as remote and inaccessible. Paramilitary force had cordoned off the area and efforts were being made to retrieve the bodies, the official said.

Army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has ordered an inquiry into the incident but the crash prompted speculation whether the transport helicopter attracted militant gunfire and was shot down.

So far, no militant group active in the region has claimed responsibility for shooting down the helicopter.

Speaking to a foreign news agency the military spokesman Major Gen Athar Abbas said "This is a utility helicopter. Because of technical faults, it crashed in Orakzai agency".

He said there was no operation in Orakzai. It was flying over from a destination in FATA (federally administered tribal areas) and going back to Peshawar.

An official said that the actual cause of the crash would be determined after detailed examination of the wreckage was made. ‘It is a lengthy exercise,’ the official said.

Sources in the military told Asian Tribune that causalities might be more than 26.

Earlier there were reports that militants might had hit the helicopter however the government officials have termed it a crash due to technical problem.

- Asian Tribune -

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