Passenger plane crashes in Afghanistan’s Taliban-held area of Ghazni province


The crash occurred in the Taliban controlled district of Deh Yak, officials said.

"The U.S. has been very explicitly using stepped-up attacks on the Taliban as a form of leverage-seeking", said Laurel Miller, the former U.S. acting Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The U.S. military command in Kabul did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The state-owned airline also released a statement on its website saying all its aircraft were operational and safe.

Mujahid did not say how fighters had brought the plane down.

Later that day, photos and footage of the aircraft crash site began emerging online. "While the cause of crash is under investigation, there are no indications the crash was caused by enemy fire", Col. Sonny Leggett, spokesman for USA forces in Afghanistan, said in a Twitter post.

The US military is investigating reports of a plane crash in Afghanistan's Ghazni province, a US official told CNN on Monday.

However, pictures on social media purportedly from the crash site showed what could be the remains of a Bombardier E-11A aircraft, which the USA military uses for electronic surveillance over Afghanistan.

The US Defense Department confirmed on Monday that a military jet crashed in Ghazni province in Afghanistan, but rejected Taliban suggestions that it was shot down.

The Washington Post could not independently verify the location of the crash.

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Registration numbers on the aircraft also appear to match such planes. A video purporting to show the crash scene has surfaced. The aircraft is used to facilitate communications between warplanes and troops on the ground.

"It's like Wi-Fi in the sky", a pilot told the Air Force news service in 2018.

Sources are claiming that this was a Bombardier E-11 which was likely operating on behalf of the US Air Force.

The former SEAL recounted the mission in the book "Lone Survivor", which was later made into a movie.

Ghazni is a particularly volatile province in Afghanistan, with Taliban forces controlling or contesting several of its districts.

The loss of the E-11A comes amid a surge in airstrikes against the Taliban, even as the USA government works to negotiate a peace deal with the group, which could include American troop withdrawals.

At least six civilians were killed in an airstrike in northern Afghanistan over the weekend, the United Nations confirmed Monday, as fighting continues to rage across the country despite hopes the USA and Taliban were hammering out a ceasefire.

USA negotiators are asking the Taliban for a reduction in violence before peace talks can formally resume.