KABUL, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) -- Six soldiers of the NATO-led coalition were killed Tuesday in an aircraft crash in southern Afghanistan, the coalition forces confirmed in a statement.
"Six International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) service members died following an aircraft crash in southern Afghanistan today," the ISAF said in the statement.
The cause of the crash is under investigation, the statement said, adding "however initial reporting indicates there was no enemy activity in the area at the time of the crash."
"A foreign forces' airplane crashed at Shah Joy district of the southern Zabul province at around midday," the deputy provincial governor Mohammad Jan Rassoulyar told Xinhua, without providing details.
Meantime, the Taliban insurgent group fighting Afghan and ISAF forces claimed responsibility for the incident.
A Taliban purported spokesman, Qari Yousuf Ahmdi, told local media that the insurgent shot down a U.S. military plane in Zabul, killing all U.S. personnel aboard.
The ISAF statement did not disclose the nationalities of the victims under the ISAF policy.
Zabul and the neighboring Kandahar provinces are known Taliban hotbed. On April 27, a U.S. military helicopter crashed in Zabul province, 340 km south of Kabul, killing four U.S. military personnel.
The deaths have brought to 155 the number of foreign soldiers killed in Afghanistan so far this year.
Backgrounder: NATO air crashes in Afghanistan in 2013
Afghanistan on road to stability as int'l force draws down: UN envoy
UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) -- Despite volatility and uncertainty, Afghanistan continues to make progress in enhancing its stability as the drawdown continues for the international forces that have sought to bring security there for the past 12 years, the top United Nations envoy in the strife-torn country said here Tuesday.
"When last here three months ago, in September, I highlighted a positive trajectory as Afghanistan undergoes ambitious security, political and economic transitions," Jan Kubis, the UN secretary- general's special representative, said while briefing the UN Security Council on the current situation in Afghanistan. Full story