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US military plane crashes in Afghanistan

January 27, 2020

US officials confirmed a US military jet has crashed in the Afghan province of Ghazni, which is partly controlled by the Taliban, but denied it was shot down. Afghan officials initially spoke of a civilian airliner.

The wreckage of a plane that crashed in Ghazni province, Afghanistan
Image: picture-alliance/Xinhua/Saifullah

A plane crashed in Afghanistan's eastern province of Ghazni, which is partly controlled by the Taliban, Afghan officials announced on Monday.

Following several conflicting reports as to what type of plane had crashed, US military officials confirmed the plane was a US military aircraft. However, they rejected the Taliban claims that the plane was shot down.

"A US Bombardier E-11A crashed today in Ghazni province, Afghanistan. While the cause of crash is under investigation, there are no indications the crash was caused by enemy fire," said Colonal Sonny Leggett, a US forces Afghanistan spokesperson. 

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The Bombardier E-11A is commonly used by the US Air Force for electronic surveillance. 

A US official told Reuters news agency on condition of anonymity that there were fewer than 10 people on board the aircraft. Separatelly, a Taliban representative said that no crew members survived.

Earlier, a senior defense official in Kabul said investigators were working to access the crash site. Access to the area is difficult for officials, as the Taliban control large parts of the rural Ghanzi province.

Conflicting accounts of crash 

Directly following the crash, an Afghan official had said the crashed plane was from Afghanistan's national carrier, Ariana Airlines.

"A Boeing plane belonging to the Ariana Afghan Airline, has crashed in the Sado Khel area of Deh Yak district of Ghazni province around 1:10 p.m. local time," Ghazni governor spokesman Aref Noori said in a statement.

Ariana Airlines later denied that any of its planes had encountered problems and dismissed the claim that one of its planes had crashed in a statement on their website, saying all the company's aircraft were operational and safe.

"There has been an airline crash but it does not belong to Ariana because the two flights managed by Ariana today from Herat to Kabul and Herat to Delhi are safe," acting CEO Mirwais Mirzakwal said.

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The plane crashed in the mountainous Deh Yak district in Ghazni province, located in the foothills of the Hindu Kush mountain range.

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wmr,ed/rt (dpa,Reuters, AFP, AP)