US confirms plane crash in Afghanistan; ‘no indication’ it was downed
The US has confirmed a military plane crashed in Afghanistan on Monday, but rejected claims by the Taliban that the insurgent forces downed the jet.
“A U.S. 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,” Colonel Sonny Leggett, a spokesman, said in a statement.
“Taliban claims that additional aircraft have crashed are false,” he added.
The Taliban had claimed their forces shot down a US spy plane, leading to the death of a number of intelligence officers.
There was no information from the US side on the crew, with the military authorities pledging to provide further information when it was available.
Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said all crew members on board were killed. The crash area is controlled by the Taliban.
US Defence Secretary Mark Esper said he was “aware of the situation” but had “nothing further to report at this time.”
Taliban forces have in the past claimed to have successfully shot down Afghan or US military helicopters or drones, but those claims are not always verified.
Wahidullah Kalimzai, the governor of south-eastern Ghazni province, where the plane is said to have crashed, had earlier confirmed a plane crash in Deh Yak district.
The crash took place around 1 pm (1100 GMT), provincial governor spokesman Arif Noori said.
The plane caught fire immediately after the crash, and it is unlikely that anyone survived the incident, Noori said.
Rescue teams had been dispatched to the scene but it was unclear whether Taliban militants would block them from reaching it, Noori said.
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