A Turkish helicopter has crashed into a house near the Afghan capital of Kabul, killing 12 Turkish soldiers on board and two young girls on the ground.

The helicopter, which was on a Nato mission, asked for permission to conduct an emergency landing due to technical problems but failed to complete the maoeuvre.

"Twelve of our military personnel on board were martyred," the Turkish military said. "The cause of the accident will become clear after an inspection by teams."

A resident who witnessed the accident saw the Sikorsky helicopter clip one house before crashing into anothe.

The Afghan interior ministry said the two people who were killed on the ground were young girls

Turkey's mission in Afghanistan is limited to patrols and its 1,800 soldiers do not take part in combat operations. Unlike other European countries like the UK and Italy, public opinion in Turkey has been less critical of its military role in the Nato mission since it is a non-combative one.

A Turkish newspaper claims that Afghan public opinion has always been friendly toward Ankara, as a result of historic links between Turkey and Afghanistan

In January, six US marines were killed in a helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan.

Last week, an US army sergeant shot dead 16 civilians, including four girls under the age of six, and burned their bodies in a village of Kandahar province. The killing has sparked further distrust between Washington and Kabul, whose diplomatic relations are stretched to breaking point after the burning of the Koran by American soldiers in February and an earlier video showing American marines urinating on dead Taliban.