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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

7 Peacekeepers Die in Helicopter Crash

KABUL, Afghanistan -- German military aviation experts arrived in the Afghan capital Sunday to investigate the cause of a helicopter crash that killed all seven German peacekeepers aboard.

A spokesman for the 4,800-strong multinational peacekeeping force said two Afghan children earlier reported killed in Saturday's crash in eastern Kabul were confirmed alive.

The crash came the same day as unidentified attackers killed a U.S. soldier in a firefight on the eastern border with Pakistan, the first U.S. combat death here since August.

German Brigadier General Werner Freers, commander of the 1,280 German peacekeeping contingent, said the team of military experts from the Bundeswehr Flight Safety Agency in Germany would examine the wreckage.

He said two Afghan children, who police said Saturday had died in the crash, were playing in the area and ran away in shock after witnessing the chopper hit the ground.

"The two children are alive and back with their families," he said.

The Sikorsky CH-53 was on a routine patrol over the mountainous city and was on its way back to Kabul when it crashed in an industrial neighborhood Saturday afternoon. It was unclear what caused the chopper to go down, but witnesses said it was not shot down.

The helicopter crash came a day after Germany's parliament voted overwhelmingly to extend by a year the mandate of its troops in Afghanistan, doubling the country's contingent to 2,500 to allow Germany and the Netherlands to take command of the force next year.

Meanwhile, attackers struck U.S. forces Saturday near Afghanistan's border with Pakistan in two separate assaults that left one American dead and another wounded, U.S. military spokesman Major Steve Clutter said.

An 82nd Airborne Division paratrooper, Sergeant Steven Checo, 22, died in a gun battle in the eastern town of Shkhin, and a U.S. Special Forces soldier was wounded in a rocket attack on a U.S. base in the northeastern city of Asadabad.

In Shkhin, American troops were observing a group of "seven to nine individuals" before dawn Saturday when the group turned and ran toward the Pakistan border, Clutter said.

As the group fled, they opened fire on the American troops. Checo was shot and died during surgery at a field hospital, according to an Army statement from Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Clutter said the group escaped into Pakistan.

 Representatives from Afghanistan's six neighbors were in Kabul on Sunday to sign a nonaggression pact the government hopes will bring an end to foreign interference that has contributed to years of fighting in the battered nation.

The Foreign Ministry said the "Kabul Declaration" would be signed to "emphasize constructive and amicable relations, respect for each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity and to refrain from actions that may jeopardize peace and stability in the region."

China, Pakistan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan are expected to sign. Representatives from India, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the European Union and the United Nations are attending the conference.