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US army confirms plane crash in eastern Afghanistan

In this October 23, 2016 image, a US military helicopter is seen flying toward Bagram airbase from Kabul, Afghanistan
In this October 23, 2016 image, a US military helicopter is seen flying toward Bagram airbase from Kabul, Afghanistan © Thomas Watkins / AFP

The US military confirmed on Monday a crash by an E-11A military aircraft in Afghanistan's Ghazni province but, despite claims by Taliban insurgents that they shot it down, said there were "no indications the crash was caused by enemy fire". 

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"Taliban claims that additional aircraft have crashed are false," a US military spokesman, Colonel Sonny Leggett, wrote on Twitter.

Tariq Ghazniwal, a journalist in the area, said that he saw the burning aircraft. In an exchange on Twitter, he told The Associated Press news agency that he saw two bodies and that the front of the aircraft was badly burned. He added that aircraft's body and tail was hardly damaged. His information could not be independently verified.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said a US airforce plane crashed in the Ghazni province. He claimed the crash killed “lots" of US service members.

Ghazniwal said the crash site was about 10 kilometres from a US military base.

The spokesman of the Ghazni province, Aref Noori, earlier told the AFP news agency that a plane crashed around 1:10pm (0840 GMT) in the Deh Yak district.

Crash in Taliban-held territory

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 told Reuters the authorities had rushed local personnel to locate and identify the wreckage, in a mountainous area partly controlled by the Taliban. Reuters journalists filmed Afghan soldiers heading towards the snow-covered mountains where the plane crashed in Ghazni province.

“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 say how fighters had brought the plane down. He said the crew on board included high ranking US officers. A senior defense official denied that senior American officers were involved.

The Taliban control large parts of Ghazni province. The militant group, which has been waging a war against US- led forces since 2001, often exaggerates enemy casualty figures.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP, REUTERS)

 

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