US confirms reports of plane crash in Afghanistan

This photograph released by the Pajhwok Afghan News shows the wreckage of a US military aircraft they claim to have downed in Ghazni province on Jan. 27, 2020. (Photo courtesy: Pajhwok Afghan News)
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Updated 28 January 2020

US confirms reports of plane crash in Afghanistan

  • Says ‘no indication’ yet that it was downed by the Taliban
  • Insurgents claim responsibility for Monday’s incident which killed all on board

KABUL/KARACHI: The Afghan Taliban on Monday claimed responsibility for the downing of a US military aircraft which crashed in the Ghazni province earlier in the day.

“A special aircraft of the American occupant was flying in the area for the purpose of an intelligence mission in the Sado Khail region of Deh Yak district of Ghazni province,” Afghan Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement on Monday which was accompanied by video footage and photographs of the aircraft and charred bodies.

“Our mujahideen have taken down (the aircraft) tactically,” he told Arab News, adding that all crew members and passengers consisting of several senior CIA officers were killed. The fuselage and the bodies remained at the crash site,’ he said.

In the photographs, the letters “USAF” (United States Air Force) can be seen on the wreckage.




This photograph released by the Afghan Taliban shows the wreckage of a US military aircraft they claim to have downed in Ghazni province on Jan. 27, 2020. (Supplied)

Earlier on Monday, the US military in Afghanistan confirmed that “a US 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,” US military spokesman, Col. Sonny Leggett, said in a Twitter post.

In a separate tweet, he said that the Taliban’s claims that additional aircraft have crashed “are false.”

In a television statement released early on Monday, Ghazni Governor Waheedullah Kalemzai said that the crash took place outside the government’s area of control.

Kalemzai’s spokesman Aref Noori told reporters in an audio message the “aircraft belonged to a foreign company and all of the passengers on board were non-Afghans.”

“The plane has caught fire. Except for the two pilots, the rest of the bodies cannot be identified, nor the type of plane can be specified,” he said.

He said that the government did not have any immediate information about the type or origin of the plane or how many people were on board.

Initial reports said that the aircraft belonged to state-owned Ariana Afghan Airlines. The airline has dismissed the reports.


South Korea reports fewer than 50 new infections, earning WHO praise

Updated 15 min 26 sec ago

South Korea reports fewer than 50 new infections, earning WHO praise

  • South Korea has been bringing the epidemic under control, with about 100 or fewer new daily cases for the past month
  • Officials have urged even greater vigilance, saying a large epidemic could re-emerge at any time

SEOUL: South Korea reported fewer than 50 new coronavirus cases for the first time since its peak in late February, earning the praise of the World Health Organization for combatting the spread in one of the first countries to be hard-hit by the disease.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said there were 47 new infections as of midnight on Sunday compared with 81 recorded a day earlier, taking the national tally to 10,284.
The death toll rose by eight to 191, while another 135 people have recovered from the virus for a total of 6,598.
South Korea has been bringing the epidemic under control, with about 100 or fewer new daily cases for the past month, but this was the first time the daily tally of new cases was less than 50 since 909 were reported on Feb. 29.
In February, South Korea uncovered what was believed to be the biggest outbreak outside of China. But a program of mass testing and contact tracing helped contain the virus, which has spread far more quickly in other countries.
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, held a 25-minute phone call with President Moon Jae-in, praising South Korea’s leadership in containing the virus, Moon’s presidential Blue House said.
Moon said in the call that South Korea was “willing to actively support other countries with prevention skills and supplies as the circumstances permit.” Moon said he recently had phone calls with about 20 global leaders.
Tedros proposed that Moon help support sub-Saharan African countries with virus-related supplies including test kits, the Blue House said.
Despite the encouraging evidence in South Korea, officials have urged even greater vigilance, saying a large epidemic could re-emerge at any time, with smaller outbreaks appearing in churches, hospitals and nursing homes, as well as among travelers returning from abroad.
“We are taking great caution against any optimistic expectations with this one-off figure,” Vice Health Minister Kim Gang-lip told a regular briefing.
On Saturday, the government extended its intensive social distancing campaign by two weeks, citing the sustained small clusters of infections.
South Koreans had refrained from socializing in February when the number of cases rose exponentially but more people started going out recently as the weather became warmer and people became weary of the isolation, Kim said.
The movement of people spiked about 20 percent over the weekend compared with the end of February, he said, citing data from the state-run statistics agency and SK Telecom, the country’s largest mobile operator.
Starting on Sunday, the government toughened penalties for those who violate self-quarantine rules to up to 10 million won ($8,100) in fines or one year in prison from 3 million won ($2,400) in fines.
Authorities have reported several cases of quarantine rules being broken over the past few days. The Gunpo city government south of Seoul said on Sunday it has filed a complaint with police against a couple in their 50s and their children who broke away from isolation and went out even after testing positive for the virus.
A Korean student living in the United States sparked public uproar after taking a fever remedy before flying home late last month. The student was found to have contracted the virus, putting some 20 other people who took the same flight in self quarantine.
“We cannot maintain social distancing forever,” Kim said. “But it is the most effective measure to help protect others and yourself.”