US Air Force electronic surveillance plane crashes in Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – A US military plane crashed in eastern Afghanistan on Monday, the US military said, adding that there was so far no indication that it had been shot down by enemy fire.
US Forces Afghanistan spokesman Col. Sonny Leggett said the military plane, an E-11A Bombardier, crashed in Ghazni province and an investigation into its causes is underway.
Monday’s plane crash is unlikely to derail the US-Taliban peace talks if it turns out to be an accident.
The Bombardier E-11A is a US Air Force electronic surveillance aircraft. A video from the crash site circulating on social media appeared to show its charred ruins.
A Taliban spokesman and Afghan journalist affiliated with the militant group had earlier said the mysterious crash was a US military plane.
Tariq Ghazniwal, a journalist from the area, said he saw the plane in flames. In an exchange on Twitter, he told The Associated Press he saw two bodies and the front of the plane was badly burned. He added that the body and tail of the plane were barely damaged. His information could not be independently verified.
Ghazniwal said the crash site was about 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) from a US military base. Local Taliban were deployed to protect the crash site, he said, and several other militants were scanning the nearby village for two people they suspected of having survived the crash.
The Taliban hold much of Ghazni province and have full control over the local crash area.
Ghazniwal said the site was near a village called Sado Khelo in Deh Yak district. He also said the crash happened shortly after 1 p.m. local time, but residents in the area had not reported loud crashing noise. He could not say if the plane had been shot down but “the crash was not strong”.
Images on social media allegedly of the crashed plane showed an aircraft bearing U.S. Air Force markings similar to other E-11A surveillance planes photographed by aviation enthusiasts. The registration numbers visible on the plane also appeared to correspond to these planes.
The so-called Battlefield Airborne Communication Node can be carried on unmanned or manned aircraft like the E-11A. It is used by the military to extend the range of radio signals and can be used to convert the output from one device to another, such as connecting a radio to a phone.
Colloquially referred to by the US military as “Wi-Fi in the Sky,” the BACN system is used in areas where communications are otherwise difficult, elevating signals over obstacles such as mountains. The system is used regularly in Afghanistan.
The United States and the Taliban are negotiating a reduction in hostilities or a ceasefire to allow the signing of a peace agreement that could bring back about 13,000 American troops and pave the way for a more post-war agreement. wide for Afghans. The Taliban currently control or control about half of the country.
Local Afghan officials said earlier Monday that an airliner from Afghan company Ariana Airlines crashed in the Taliban-controlled area of eastern Ghazni province. However, Ariana Airlines told The Associated Press that none of its planes crashed in Afghanistan.
Conflicting accounts could not be immediately reconciled.
Arif Noori, spokesman for the governor of the province, said the plane crashed around 1:10 p.m. local time (8:40 GMT) in Deh Yak district, some 130 kilometers (80 miles) southwest of the capital Kabul. He said the crash site is in Taliban-controlled territory. Two members of the provincial council also confirmed the accident.
But Ariana Airlines acting director Mirwais Mirzakwal has dismissed reports that one of the company’s planes had crashed. The state-owned airline also posted a statement on its website that all of its planes are operational and safe.
The mountainous province of Ghazni sits in the foothills of the Hindu Kush mountains and is extremely cold in winter.