NYDN ‘Enemy fire’ in Afghanistan crash ruled out

World News

The U.S. military is investigating the mysterious crash of an electronic surveillance plane Monday in Afghanistan’s Ghazni province, an area largely controlled by the Taliban — though officials don’t believe it was “enemy fire” that brought down the aircraft.

Confusion reigned over the crash after Afghan officials said the incident involved an Ariana Airlines passenger aircraft.

The company later told The Associated Press that none of its planes had crashed and images began to emerge on social media showing the wreckage of what appeared to be a U.S.-owned Bombardier E-11A.

A spokesman for U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, Col. Sonny Leggett, eventually confirmed the aircraft belonged to the U.S., but the cause of the crash, the number of occupants, if any, and their fate remained a mystery hours after the incident. The aircraft can fly with or without a crew.

The plane came down just after 1 p.m. in Deh Yak district, about 80 miles southwest of Kabul, local authorities said.

A spokesman for the Taliban appeared to be the first to report that the crash involved a U.S. military plane.

The official, Zabihullah Mujahid, claimed the crash killed “lots” of U.S. service members and that he’d seen two bodies near the aircraft.