Afghanistan: US Plane Crashes, Taliban Says It Downed the Plane, But Pentagon Denies It

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A US Air Force E-11A was brought down over Taliban-controlled airspace and crashed in Ghazni Province. The Taliban issued a statement saying it was responsible. The E-11A is a communications plane used primarily to extend radio signals and other communications for US troops on the ground.

CNN reported that an official from the Pentagon said there was no indication the plane was shot down by enemy fire. Sensitive equipment was disabled by military personnel that arrived at the site, and US forces destroyed the remnants of the aircraft.

Two bodies have been recovered and identified as Lt. Col. Paul K. Voss, 46, of Yigo, Guam, and Capt. Ryan S. Phaneuf, 30, of Hudson, New Hampshire. Last year was the deadliest in five years for the US in Afghanistan with 23 service members killed during operations in the country in 2019. -GEG

At 1:10 PM, a US Air Force E-11A was brought down over Taliban-controlled airspace, and crashed in Ghazni Province. Shortly thereafter, the Taliban issued a statement saying they had shot the plane down.

Local reporters in Ghazni say they saw at least two bodies at the site, though others said as many as five were seen. One reporter also said a “high-ranking CIA member” was among the slain, though no further details were confirmed on that.

The US, which only started commenting over 10 hours after the apparent shootdown, said that no more than five were aboard the plane. Some reports in Ghazni, lending credence to the two killed report, said Taliban fighters were searching the nearest village for potential survivors.

US Air Force officials promised to investigate the matter, but said they had “no indication” the plane was shot down. This may simply be because the plane is in enemy-controlled territory, and they’ve not been able to examine the wreckage, beyond photographs and video evidence.

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