Twelve Turkish soldiers and two young Afghan girls were killed on Friday when a Turkish helicopter crashed into a house on the outskirts of Kabul, officials said. A statement on the Turkish General Staff's Web site said the aircraft appears to have crashed accidentally, rather than under enemy fire. t was the deadliest incident for international troops in Afghanistan so far this year, and a rare loss of life for the Turkish soldiers who are stationed here. Turkey, once of only two majority Muslim countries in NATO, is exempted from combat operations in Afghanistan. Until Friday, only two Turkish soldiers had died while on duty here, according to statistics kept by the Web site icasualties.org. The other Muslim country in NATO is Albania. Turkey has about 1800 troops in Afghanistan and leads NATO operations in Kabul province. NATO officials in Kabul said the cause of the crash was under investigation. "Initial reporting indicates there was no enemy activity in the area at the time of the crash," the NATO statement said. The crash comes during a turbulent period for the NATO coalition in Afghanistan. The military command has been shaken by Afghan rage over last month's burning of Korans by US troops and Sunday's shooting rampage by a US soldier that left 16 civilians dead.
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