A passenger plane crashed in the Deh Yak district of eastern Afghanistan’s Ghazni province on Monday, local officials said, according to BBC. The area is held by the Taliban, according to AP.
A spokesperson for the provincial governor, Arif Noori, said the plane crashed around 1.10 pm local time (2.10 pm Indian Standard Time). Two other unidentified provincial council members also confirmed the incident to AP.
There are no details yet about casualties but Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid claimed that a United States Air Force plane had crashed in Ghazni province. He alleged that “lots” of United States service members were killed in the episode. However, the terrorist group is known to exaggerate casualty numbers.
A local journalist, Tariq Ghazniwal, posted a video of a burning aircraft. He told AP he had seen two bodies and that the front of the plane was badly charred, adding that the site of the crash was around 10 km away from a United States military base.
Meanwhile, United States Army Major Beth Riordan, who is the spokesperson for the country’s Central Command, refused to comment on the Taliban’s claims. She had earlier said that they were looking into reports of a plane crash in Afghanistan.
Hours after the incident, Noori said the plane was on fire and villagers were trying to extinguish it. “We still don’t know if it is a military or commercial plane,” AFP quoted him as saying.
Initially, it was believed that the aircraft was owned by the country’s Ariana Airlines but the company denied the reports. “There has been an airline crash but it does not belong to Ariana because the two flights managed by Ariana today [Monday] from Herat to Kabul and Herat to Delhi are safe,” the airline’s acting Chief Executive Officer Mirwais Mirzakwal told Reuters.