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Afghanistan: Taliban claim they shot down US air force plane

27 Jan 2020 The Guardian

A Taliban spokesman claims the group has shot down a US military aircraft over eastern Afghanistan.

The US military said on Monday it was investigating reports of a crash in Taliban-controlled territory.

Footage purportedly taken from the snowy wreckage site showed the US air force insignia on the charred fuselage.

A spokesman for the Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid, said in a statement posted online: “An American invader aircraft has been shot down. Lots of officers have been killed.”

He claimed high-ranking CIA officers had been onboard the plane. Neither the footage nor his claims could be verified.

Tariq Ghazniwal, a local journalist, told the Guardian he saw two bodies but others had counted a total of five.

The Taliban have occasionally been reported to have access to anti-aircraft weapons, including cases where they fired Stinger missiles of the kind supplied to the rebels by the CIA during the 1980s Russian occupation.

In 2007, Taliban fighters were thought to have used a shoulder-mounted surface-to-air missile to shoot down a British Chinook helicopter, killing all onboard.

The Afghan government initially said a passenger jet carrying more than 80 people had crashed, but retracted the claim a few hours later.

More details soon …


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