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.
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.