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Pentagon Identifies Airmen Killed In Afghan Crash, Denies Hostile Action

The Pentagon has identified the two U.S. Air Force officers killed in the crash of their Bombardier E-11A electronic-surveillance plane in Afghanistan and restated that there was no indication the plane was downed by hostile fire.

The U.S. military on January 29 said the victims were Lieutenant Colonel Paul Voss, 46, of Guam and Captain Ryan Phaneuf, 30, of New Hampshire.

The cause of the crash in Afghanistan's Ghazni Province remains under investigation.

"I'm pretty confident there was no enemy action involved. Aircraft mishaps happen," General Frank McKenzie, commander of U.S. Central Command, told reporters at the Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia.

The Taliban claimed that its forces had shot down the U.S. plane.

McKenzie added that he did not believe U.S. troops suffered any resistance going to the crash site.

"The main resistance was from the weather, which was really significant back there," he said.

He added that "appropriate precautions" were taken by U.S. recovery forces at the site "because the last thing you want to do is have another mishap or have other people lose their lives in attempt to get up there."

Afghan officials had said their forces initially were driven back by Taliban snipers when they attempted to approach the wreckage.

The crash came as the Taliban and United States have been in talks on ending the 18-year war in Afghanistan.

The two sides had been negotiating the deal for a year and were on the brink of an announcement in September 2019 when U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly declared the process "dead," citing Taliban violence.

Based on reporting by AP and Daily Beast
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