Contractor's helicopter missing in Afghanistan

AP News
Posted: Nov 26, 2009 9:02 AM

A helicopter chartered by an international military contractor has disappeared in Afghanistan, officials said Thursday.

Supreme Global Service Solutions said in a statement Thursday evening that the helicopter had been contracted "to fly a cargo mission" in support of NATO and had gone missing in a mountainous region of Afghanistan on Monday.

NATO forces were searching for the chopper, said Lt. Col. Todd Vician, a NATO spokesman in Kabul. Earlier reports had said the chopper had been missing since late Tuesday.

Supreme provides food and logistics services to military bases across Afghanistan.

Police and international military forces were searching for the craft in eastern Logar province's Kharwar district, provincial government spokesman Din Mohammad Darwirsh said. He said they did not have any confirmation of a crash and no wreckage had been located.

"It's missing, but that's all we know right now," said Maj. Steven Coll, another NATO spokesman. He said he could not provide information about how many people were aboard the helicopter or their nationalities.

Kharwar is in a remote area of Logar province south of the capital, Kabul. Until a few months ago, there was virtually no government or military presence there.

An American unit _ the 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division from Fort Drum, New York _ is there now with Afghan army and police forces.

Separately, authorities increased security in Kabul ahead of the Muslim holiday of Eid, which starts Friday.

The Interior Ministry said 10,000 police were providing security around mosques, family gathering places and elevated areas overlooking the city, and it called on residents to report suspicious activity.