US Military Confirms Its Plane Crashed in Afghanistan

January 27, 2020 Updated: January 27, 2020
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A U.S. military plane crashed on Monday in Taliban-held territory in Ghazni province, Afghanistan, according to a spokesperson for the U.S. military operation in Afghanistan

“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. We will provide additional information as it becomes available,” wrote Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, in a statement on Monday.

He added that “Taliban claims that additional aircraft have crashed are false.”

Provincial government spokesman Arif Noori told CBS News on Monday that the plane appeared to have been flying from Kandahar to Kabul, which is about 200 miles to the north.

“The only thing we can say is 385 is written in the wreckage and we don’t know which country or company it belongs to,” Noori said, reported The Associated Press.

The bodies of two pilots were located at the crash site, he said, adding that the plane was totally destroyed.

Afghanistan Plane Crash
This photo provided by Tariq Ghazniwal shows an aircraft that crashed in eastern Afghanistan on Jan. 27, 2020. (Tariq Ghazniwal via AP)

Ariana Afghan Airlines, the country’s state-owned airline company, issued a statement and strongly denied earlier reports that one of its planes crashed. “All of Ariana Afghan flights are operating normally,” the airline said on social media, as reported by CBS.

Mirwais Mirzekwal, the head of Ariana, told Reuters, “It does not belong to Ariana because the two flights managed by Ariana today from Herat to Kabul and Herat to Delhi are safe.”

And Ghazni provincial governor Wahidullah Kaleemzai told local media, “There is no exact information on casualties and name of the airline,” Reuters also reported.

U.S. Army Maj. Beth Riordan, a spokeswoman for U.S. Central Command, told the Military Times: “U.S. Central Command is aware of the reports of a U.S. aircraft crash in Afghanistan. We are currently monitoring the situation and will provide additional information when possible.”

U.S. Central Command didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Earlier this month, two U.S. service members were killed and two others injured when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan, the U.S. military said in a statement. The Taliban immediately took responsibility for the attack. A Taliban spokesman, Qari Yusouf Ahmadi, said it occurred in the southern Kandahar province.

More than 2,400 U.S. service members have been killed in Afghanistan. Last year was one of the deadliest for the United States, with 23 American troops killed, even as Washington engaged in peace talks with the Taliban.

U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has been pressing the extremists to declare a cease-fire or at least reduce violent attacks. That would give a window in which the United States and the Taliban could forge an agreement to withdraw all of America’s troops. That agreement would also set out a road map for direct Afghan-to-Afghan talks, mapping out the country’s post-war future.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.