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Afghan officials in Kandahar said the crash occurred in the Shah Wali Kot in the north part of the province, scene of heavy fighting last week involving Australian special forces. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not supposed to release information to media.

Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi told news organizations that insurgents shot the helicopter down with a rocket, a claim disputed by NATO and Australian officials.

A businessman in Shah Wali Kot, Zaheerullah Khan, told the Associated Press that there had been heavy fighting in the area for the last three days.

“Most of the roads are closed and they carry out operations at night,” he said. “Every night you can hear the fighting.”

NATO has launched a major operation to secure the biggest southern city, Kandahar, capital of the province where the Taliban were first organized in the 1990s.

Elsewhere, a spokesman for the Wardak provincial police, Wakil Sherzai, said the Taliban beheaded the acting chief of the province’s district of Sayyed Abad. Gunmen seized the man at his home four days ago and his body was found Monday.

Two Afghan policemen were killed and two were wounded Monday by a roadside bomb in the Nad Ali district of Helmand province, the Interior Ministry said.

Also Monday, the anti-graft commission reported that President Hamid Karzai earns 24,000 Afghanis per month, or about $527, a month. He has 15,300 euros, or about $18,500, in a German bank but owns no land. His wife has jewelry worth more than $10,000.

The High Office for Oversight and the Anti-Corruption Commission plan to release financial disclosure information on at least 2,000 top officials as part of an effort to combat corruption in the country.

Mohammad Yasin Osmani, head of the commission, said Karzai’s financial information was released first and those of other figures would be announced later.

Associated Press writer Mirwais Khan in Kandahar contributed to this report.