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U.S. Military Confirms Aircraft Crashed In Afghanistan


A screen grab from a video from a tweet from ILNA purporting to show the crash of a passenger plane southwest of Kabul.
A screen grab from a video from a tweet from ILNA purporting to show the crash of a passenger plane southwest of Kabul.

An American military aircraft crashed in eastern Afghanistan on January 27, the U.S. military and the NATO-led force in the country said, adding that there were no indications so far it had been brought down by enemy fire.

The spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Colonel Sonny Leggett, said that the military plane, a Bombardier E-11A, crashed in the Ghazni Province and an investigation of its causes was ongoing.

He gave no information on casualties or details of the crash.

Separately, the NATO-led Resolute Force mission confirmed the crash in an e-mail to RFE/RL.

"A U.S. Bombardier E-11A crashed today in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan," the message said.

"While the cause of [the] crash is under investigation, there are no indications the crash was caused by enemy fire. We will provide additional information as it becomes available. Taliban claims that additional aircraft have crashed are false."

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said a U.S. Air Force plane crashed in the Ghazni Province, which sits in the foothills of the Hindu Kush mountains. Mujahid claimed the crash killed “lots" of members of the U.S. military. The militant group often exaggerates casualty figures.

The Aviation Safety Network, a website of the Flight Safety Foundation that that keeps track of aviation accidents, incidents, and hijackings, tweeted that video posted online has confirmed that the plane that crashed was a U.S. military plane.

"A video confirms that a USAF Northrop Grumman E-11A crashed in Afghanistan," it said. "This is a Bombardier Global Express outfitted as Battlefield Airborne Communications Node."

The Bombardier E-11A aircraft is used by the U.S. military for electronic surveillance over Afghanistan. It is used by the military to extend the range of radio signals and can be used to convert the output of one device to another, such as connecting a radio to a telephone.

The Battlefield Airborne Communications Node, also referred to by the U.S. military as “Wi-Fi in the sky," can be carried both on manned planes such as the E-11A or by unmanned aircraft.

Local Afghan officials had told RFE/RL earlier on January 27 that a passenger place from Afghanistan's Ariana Airlines had crashed in the Taliban-held area of Ghazni Province. Provincial Governor Wahidullah Kalimzai told RFE/RL that the aircraft belonged to Ariana Airlines and was carrying about 83 people.

However, the state-owned airline denied in a Facebook post that one of its planes had crashed.

The conflicting accounts could not immediately be reconciled. The number of people on board and their fate was not immediately known, nor was the cause of the crash.

With reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP

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