Taliban announced it has shot down a plane carrying US military personnel in Ghazni on Monday.
The group claimed that all personnel on board, including high ranking officers, were killed in the crash, Reuters news agency reported.
While the Pentagon has refused to immediately comment on the incident, anonymous US officials have confirmed to Reuters the loss of a military plane.
“Less than 10 people” were on board, the officials said. However, they denied that the plane was shot down.
“So far, nothing indicates that the aircraft has been shot down,” the agency quoted the officials as saying.
Photos, Videos Circulated by Social Media
Photos and videos of the crashed plane were circulated by activists on social media.
— 🏴☠️ FJ 🏴☠️ (@Natsecjeff) January 27, 2020
US Military “Investigating”
The US military had earlier said it is investigating reports of an airplane crash in Taliban-controlled territory in Afghanistan.
US Army Major Beth Riordan, a spokeswoman for US Central Command, however, said it remained unclear whose aircraft was involved in the crash.
“We are currently monitoring the situation and will provide additional information when possible,” the US CENTCOM spokesperson said, adding it was “aware” of media reports suggesting the plane was US Air Force.
AFP news agency reported earlier that a plane has crashed in Afghanistan’s Ghazni province, and that Afghan authorities are working to determine whether it was a military plane or passenger.
“At around 1:10 pm (0840 GMT) a plane crashed in Deh Yak district of Ghazni province. The plane is on fire and the villagers are trying to put it out. We still don’t know if it is a military or commercial plane,” AFP quoted Aref Noori, Ghazni’s governor’s spokesman as saying.
Noori told CBS News’ Ahmad Mukhtar the bodies of two pilots were found at the crash site and that the plane was completely destroyed. He did not mention any other casualties.
A US military official confirmed to CBS News senior national security correspondent David Martin that an Air Force E-11 had crashed in Afghanistan. The official said the cause of the crash was still being investigated and he would not discuss the fate of the crew.
There were also multiple reports claiming that the crashed plane belonged to Ariana Afghan Airlines; however, the company denied the reports on social media.
“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.
On January 9, two military personnel were killed in a helicopter crash in Porchaman District of Farah province.
Source: Reuters and AFP