KABUL: A rocket fired by insurgents on a US base in Afghanistan destroyed a military helicopter on the eve of the anniversary of the September 11 attacks, killing three Afghans, officials said Tuesday.
The Chinook helicopter caught fire and was destroyed as it prepared to take off late Monday from Bagram air base, the largest US military base in the war-torn country, a NATO military spokesperson said. "They were preparing for an operation," the spokesperson said, adding the helicopter was hit by "indirect fire".
Three Afghans were killed and several Afghan and foreign "service members" were wounded, the spokesperson said, but gave no further details.
Roshana Khalid, a spokeswoman for the Parwan province where the base is located confirmed the incident and said three Afghan intelligence agents were killed and two senior security officials wounded. They were to conduct an anti-Taliban operation in an area near Bagram, she said.
"The helicopter was preparing to take off when a rocket fired by insurgents hit it. There were Afghan and (NATO) coalition personnel on board. Three Afghan intelligence personnel were killed," Khalid said. The wounded included the Parwan provincial operational chief of the intelligence agency and an army officer, Khalid added.
Bagram air base, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of capital Kabul is located in Parwan province which sees little of the Taliban-led insurgency, but the base comes under insurgent rocket attacks from time to time.