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At least 21 people have been killed in Afghanistan, including five NATO soldiers in a helicopter crash and six civilians blasted by a landmine and mortar.



At least 21 people, including seven foreign troops, have been killed in a single day in Afghanistan.

In separate incidents on Monday, five NATO soldiers were killed in a helicopter crash, a landmine and mortar round killed at least six civilians and 10 people died in a shootout at a joint Afghan-US military base.

The melee at the base in Jalrez district of Wardak province occurred when a policeman opened fire at Afghan and US troops.

Naqibullah Haidari, the district governor, said on Tuesday that at least 10 people were killed in the skirmishes.

He said the attacker, Nasir Ahmad, had been working at the district police headquarters for more than a year.

"He stood on top of a police ranger and took control of the PK machine gun attached to the vehicle," Haidari said.

Two US special forces members, three Afghan policemen and three Afghan army commandos were killed.

Haidari said helicopters flying over the base killed two civilians and injured four others.

The district police chief had also been injured, along with an officer and two Afghan interpreters for the foreign soldiers.

The incident in Wardak was the latest in a series of attacks on coalition troops by members of the Afghan forces.

Last week, three Afghan soldiers opened fire on foreign troops outside a US base in Kapisa, killing a civilian NATO contractor.

Elsewhere, five soldiers killed late on Monday in a helicopter crash in the southern province of Kandahar were believed to be US troops, provincial police chief Abdul Raziq said.

Bad weather and technical problems were likely the cause of the crash, Raziq said, noting the absence of insurgent activity in the area.

NATO also said initial reports indicated no enemy activity.

In neighbouring Helmand province, a landmine detonated late on Monday under a tractor, killing four civilians, the Interior Ministry said.

A mortar round also hit a house on Monday in Helmand, killing two civilians, it said.

The ministry blamed "enemies of Afghanistan," a term it uses for Taliban militants, and said five women were among the civilians killed.

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