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Sunday, 9 December, 2001, 15:41 GMT
Afghan commanders killed in crash
A helicopter has crashed in northern Afghanistan killing 22 people, including three anti-Taleban military commanders.

The reason for the crash, near the town of Farkhar in the mountainous province of Takhar, is not immediately clear.

One of dead, identified as Mohammed Mustafa, was the commander of a Northern Alliance unit which had guarded the late guerrilla commander Ahmad Shah Masood.

Two others - Arbab Mohammed Hashim and Mirza Ghulam Nasiri - were well-known ethnic Pashtun leaders thought to have defected from the Taleban during the militia's defeat in Kunduz province last month.

The Pakistan-based news agency, Afghan Islamic Press, reported that Hashim's supporters were alleging that their leader was deliberately killed, but the Northern Alliance said it was an accident.

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