KABUL: A plane which US officials described as a small military aircraft crashed in a Taliban-controlled area of central Afghanistan on Monday.
The Aghan Taliban claimed to have brought it down but US officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity with an international news agency, said there were no indications so far that the plane had been brought down by enemy activity.
One of the officials said there were believed to be fewer than 10 people on board. Pictures and a video on social media purportedly from the crash site showed what could be the remains of a Bombardier E-11A aircraft.
Senior Afghan officials said the authorities had rushed local personnel to locate and identify the wreckage, in a mountainous area partly controlled by the Taliban.
“The plane which was on an intelligence mission, was brought down in Sado Khel area of Deh Yak district of Ghazni province,” said Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban in a statement. Mujahid did not mention how fighters had brought the plane down, but said the crew on board included high ranking US officers.
Civilian airline Ariana Afghan Airlines denied initial reports that it was the owner of the plane. “It does not belong to Ariana because the two flights managed by Ariana today, from Herat to Kabul and Herat to Delhi, are safe,” said acting CEO, Mirwais Mirzakwal.
No officials have confirmed information about ownership or type of aircraft. The Afghan Ministry of Defense said a convoy of Afghan Special Forces is on its way to Deh Yak district from Ghazni city, which is 25 kilometers west of the crash site.
Two officials from Ghazni province said the crashed aircraft appeared to belong to a foreign company. “There is no exact information on casualties and the name of the airline,” Ghazni provincial governor Wahidullah Kaleemzai told private broadcaster Tolo News earlier on Monday.
Dozens of private entities operate planes and helicopters across Afghanistan to move military contractors and aid. The Afghan Civil Aviation Authority in a statement stated that no local, civilian planes crashed in Ghazni and that all flights were normal on Monday.
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