Eleven dead as US plane crashes at Afghanistan airport

An American C-130 transport plane has crashed at Jalalabad airport in Afghanistan, killing six crew members and five civilian contractors, a spokesman has said.

“The crew and passengers were killed,” Col Brian Tribus said.

The Taliban claimed it shot down the Hercules aircraft, according to Agence France-Presse.

“Our mujahideen have shot down a four-engine US aircraft in Jalalabad,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Twitter. “Based on credible information 15 invading forces and a number of puppet troops were killed.”

The Taliban are known to make exaggerated battlefield claims, and the US military has so far not given details on the cause of the crash.

US officials said they were “confident” that the plane had not been shot down and that the incident, at about midnight local time on Thursday (1930 GMT), was under investigation.

Major Tony Wickman, of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing at Bagram, said: “With high confidence, it does not appear at this time that enemy fire was involved in the aircraft crash. We have first responders on scene working at the crash site doing recovery operations. An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the accident.”

The contractors had been working for “Resolute Support”, the NATO-led training mission.

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The crash came hours after Afghan troops recaptured the center of the strategic northern city of on Thursday amid fierce clashes with Taliban militants, three days after losing the provincial capital.

The Taliban have been fighting to regain power since being toppled by a US-led intervention in 2001.

The number of American deaths in has fallen sharply after the US wrapped up its formal combat mission last year, although US special forces and aircraft were involved in this week’s counter-offensive in Kunduz.

In 2011, Taliban militants shot down a US military Chinook helicopter, killing all 38 people on board.

Source : theguardian[dot]com
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