Indian authorities say no survivors of air force plane crash

There were no survivors of a military transport plane crash last week in a mountainous area near the border with China. (File/AFP)
Updated 13 June 2019
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Indian authorities say no survivors of air force plane crash

  • The AN-32 plane with five Indian air force officers and eight people of other ranks lost ground contact June 3 on its way to a high-altitude airstrip in Mechuka, 29 kilometers from the Chinese border
  • Even after deploying satellites and sensitive radars, it took nine days for air force and navy personnel to locate the wreckage because of the remoteness of the heavily forested area

GAHUATI, India: There were no survivors of a military transport plane crash last week in a mountainous area near the border with China, Indian authorities said Thursday.
A team of rescuers airlifted to a place lower on the mountain in Arunachal Pradesh, India's northeastern-most state, climbed up to the crash site on foot early Thursday and confirmed that none of the 13 people on board were alive, the Indian air force said on Twitter.
"Our rescue team reached the site at an elevation of 12,000 feet (3,658 meters) this morning and did not find survivors," said Indian Air Force Wing Commander Ratnakar Singh.
The AN-32 plane with five Indian air force officers and eight people of other ranks lost ground contact June 3 on its way to a high-altitude airstrip in Mechuka, 29 kilometers (18 miles) from the Chinese border.
Even after deploying satellites and sensitive radars, it took nine days for air force and navy personnel to locate the wreckage because of the remoteness of the heavily forested area.
The air force released a photo of a charred patch of land on a steep slope covered with evergreen trees, leading to speculation that the plane crashed just below the summit.
Officials have not said what caused the crash.


US Secretary of State Pompeo makes unannounced visit to Kabul

Updated 25 June 2019
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US Secretary of State Pompeo makes unannounced visit to Kabul

  • Pompeo met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani during an unannounced visit to Kabul to discuss ongoing peace talks with the Taliban
  • Pompeo stopped over on his way to New Delhi for meetings with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other officials

KABUL: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani during an unannounced visit to Kabul on Tuesday to discuss ongoing peace talks with the Taliban and the security situation ahead of Afghan presidential polls in September.
Pompeo stopped over on his way to New Delhi for meetings with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other officials.
“With so much going on in the world right now it’s sometimes easy to forget about America’s commitment here to Afghanistan, but the world should know that the Trump administration has not forgotten, the American people have not forgotten,” Pompeo said in Kabul.
His visit to Afghanistan comes ahead of a seventh round of peace talks between Taliban leaders and US officials aimed at finding a political settlement to end the 18-year-old war in Afghanistan. The next round of peace talks is scheduled to begin on June 29 in Doha.
The talks between the United States and the Taliban will focus on working out a timeline for the withdrawal of US-led troops from Afghanistan and on a Taliban guarantee that militants will not plot attacks from Afghan soil.
“While we’ve made clear to the Taliban that were prepared to remove our forces, I want to be clear, we’ve not yet agreed on a timeline to do so,” said Pompeo.
“We agree that peace is our highest priority and that Afghanistan must never again serve as a platform for international terrorism.”
He said the two sides are nearly ready to conclude a draft text outlining the Taliban’s commitment to join fellow Afghans in ensuring that Afghan soil never again becomes a safe haven for “terrorists.”
Momentum for talks with the Taliban is steadily building, with a special US peace envoy for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, pushing the peace process and insurgent leaders showing serious interest in negotiating for the first time. Ghani has also offered repeatedly to talk with the Taliban but they have insisted that they will not deal directly with the Ghani government.
“All sides agree that finalizing a US-Taliban understanding on terrorism and foreign troop presence will open the door to intra-Afghan dialogue and negotiation,” Pompeo said, adding that next step is at the heart of the US effort.
“We are not and will not negotiate with the Taliban on behalf of the government or people of Afghanistan.”