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US confirms Afghanistan jet crash; no evidence of Taliban shoot-down

27 Jan 2020 TRT World

Afghanistan US Forces spokesman Colonel Sonny Leggett confirmed in a statement that the aircraft was a US Bombardier E-11A but rejected it was shot down by the Taliban.

Afghan National Army forces go towards the site of an airplane crash in Deh Yak district of Ghazni province, Afghanistan January 27, 2020. (Reuters)

The US Defense Department confirmed on Monday that a military jet crashed in Ghazni province in Afghanistan, but rejected Taliban suggestions that it was shot down.

Afghanistan US Forces spokesman Colonel Sonny Leggett confirmed in a statement that the aircraft was a US Bombardier E-11A, a type of jet used as an airborne communications node in the region.

"While the cause of crash is under investigation, there are no indications the crash was caused by enemy fire," Leggett said.

Taliban claims

The Taliban had earlier said it had shot down a US military plane, killing all personnel on board.

"The plane, which was on an intelligence mission, was brought down in Sado Khel area of Deh Yak district of Ghazni province," Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, said in a statement, adding that everyone on board, including high-ranking officers, had been killed.

A senior defence official investigating the crash said no senior US official was killed.

Arif Noori, spokesman for the provincial governor, said the plane went down around 1:10 pm local time in Deh Yak district, which is held by the Taliban. Two provincial council members also confirmed the crash.

The number of people on board and their fate was not immediately known, nor was the cause of the crash.

A police spokesman in the province also confirmed the crash but was at the time unable to identify the craft.

Large swathes of rural areas in Ghazni province are controlled or under the influence of Taliban militants, making access difficult for officials.

The mountainous Ghazni province sits in the foothills of the Hindu Kush mountains and is bitterly cold in winter.

'Not true'

Social media was rife with suggestions that the plane was from state-owned Ariana Afghan Airlines — however, the company said the rumours were "not true."

"All the flights of Ariana Afghan Airlines have been completed normally," a statement on the carrier's verified Facebook page read.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Afghanistan also denied reports that the plane was a commercial flight.

"According to our information from the Control Tower and Traffic Regulatory Authority, no commercial airline crash has been recorded. And Ariana Afghan Airlines have reassured us that all their planes are accounted for," said the organisation.

The last major commercial air crash in Afghanistan occurred in 2005 when a Kam Air flight from western Herat to the capital Kabul crashed into the mountains as it tried to land in snowy weather.

The war, however, has seen a number of deadly crashes of military aircraft. One of the most spectacular occurred in 2013 when an American Boeing 747 cargo jet crashed shortly after takeoff from Bagram air base north of Kabul en route to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

All seven crew members were killed.

Afghanistan's aviation industry suffered desperately during the rule of the Taliban when its only airline Ariana was subject to punishing sanctions and allowed to fly only to Saudi Arabia for Hajj flights.

Since the overthrow of the religious regime, smaller private airlines have emerged but the industry is still a nascent one

Source: TRTWorld and agencies

Original Link: https://www.trtworld.com/asia/us-confirms-afghanistan-jet-crash-no-evidence-of-taliban-shoot-down-33256

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