KABUL, Afghanistan – A helicopter crash killed three Australian commandos and a U.S. service member before dawn Monday in a rugged area of southern Afghanistan where fighting has raged for days.

Five other international service members, including four Americans, died in separate attacks in the east and south, officials said. The latest deaths brought the number of international service members killed in Afghanistan this month to 62, including 41 Americans.

NATO and Australian officials said there was no evidence that hostile fire was responsible for the crash, although Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi claimed the insurgents shot down the helicopter.

The Australian deaths are likely to increase pressure on the government of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to withdraw Australian forces from the conflict. The Dutch are pulling out their 1,600 troops in August, and Australia has already ruled out sending more soldiers.

“This is a tragic day for Australia and for the Australian defense force,” Rudd said in a statement to Parliament. “We know our mission in Afghanistan is hard, but this mission is critical for our common security.”

Australia’s air force commander, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, said seven Australians were injured in the crash, two of them seriously.