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)
Short Url
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.

Indian Muslims in riot-hit Delhi slam govt for inaction

Updated 27 February 2020

Indian Muslims in riot-hit Delhi slam govt for inaction

  • Indian PM Modi appeals for calm as death toll from violence rises to 27

NEW DELHI: Sadaqat has been trying to collect the body of his shooting-victim brother from a New Delhi hospital since Tuesday.

The 26-year-old, who arrived to work in the Indian capital a few weeks ago, said on Wednesday he was afraid to seek help from police who have been struggling to contain violence over a new citizenship law which has resulted in scores of deaths, mostly among Muslims.

“The hospital is refusing to hand over my brother’s dead body even after 24 hours,” he told Arab News. “No one is there to help me. I am scared to reach out to police also. I am so scared that I don’t want to go to my house for fear of violence. Yesterday, I took refuge at my relative’s house in another part of Delhi.”

Sadaqat claimed his younger brother, Mubarak, was returning to his rented house in the Maujpur area of northeast Delhi, when a Hindu mob shot him dead.

On Wednesday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed for calm. According to media reports, violent clashes in the city have claimed 27 lives since Sunday evening, although the unofficial death toll has been put at more than three dozen. The neighborhoods of Maujpur, Mustafabad, Jaffrabad and Shiv Vihar are said to be in the grip of fear.

“I am planning to leave for Jaipur and stay there until the situation becomes normal. I have never seen this kind of violence in my life,” said 30-year-old garment seller Sharukh.

“My neighbor’s son was injured in the violence, but he is scared to go to the police and report it. He also doesn’t want to go to hospital. We have lost our trust,” he added.

Trouble started when a Hindu mob attacked Muslims protesting in Jaffrabad against the citizenship law that provides fast-track naturalization for some foreign-born religious minorities but not Muslims. As clashes spread, several mosques were damaged, and numerous shops and houses belonging to Muslims were burned down.

India has been rocked by violence since the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was passed in December last year. The legislation is seen by many as anti-Muslim and has raised concerns that when the Indian government goes ahead with its National Register of Citizens (NRC), many from the Muslim minority population will be rendered stateless.

Delhi-based social activist, Nadeem Khan, told Arab News: “There is a sense of helplessness among Muslims now. They don’t have the resources to fight the government. They were already at the receiving end of the CAA and NRC, and this violence further marginalizes the community in their own land.”

In a Twitter post on Wednesday, Modi said: “Peace and harmony are central to our ethos. I appeal to my sisters and brothers of Delhi to maintain peace and brotherhood at all times.

“It is important that there is calm, and normalcy is restored at the earliest. Police and other agencies are working on the ground to ensure peace and normalcy.”

The premier’s statement came after the opposition Congress Party questioned the government’s silence on the violence in Delhi and demanded the resignation of Modi’s right-hand man, Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah.

During a press conference in New Delhi on Wednesday, Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, said: “The central government, including the home minister, is responsible. The Congress party demands that he resigns immediately.”

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar responded to Gandhi’s statement by calling it “unfortunate and condemnable,” and blaming her for “politicizing the violence.”

He said: “At such times all parties should ensure that peace is maintained, blaming the government instead is dirty politics.”

Meanwhile, the High Court of Delhi on Wednesday called for legal action against those who incited violence and requested “the filing of cases of those who made hate speeches.”

Political analyst Prof. Apoorvanand, of the University of Delhi, told Arab News: “The BJP’s (Bharatiya Janata Party) hate campaign and the vilification of the Muslim protesters in the last few months has resulted in the violence.

“No one is willing to take Modi’s words for calm at face value. The violence was state-sponsored. The violence sent a message to Muslims that they are helpless, and the state cannot help you,” he added.