Afghan state officials deny plane crash in Taliban territory

posted on 27th January 2020 by William Hayes
Afghan state officials deny plane crash in Taliban territory

Officials in Afghanistan have said an aircraft has crashed in the south-west of the country, although the state-owned Ariana Afghan Airlines has rejected claims that one of its planes came down.

This conflicts with reports from senior government officials in the country, who said an Ariana Afghan aircraft had crashed in the eastern Ghazni province around 1:10pm (08.40 GMT) local time on Monday.

“There has been an airline crash but it does not belong to Ariana because the two flights managed by Ariana today from Herat to Kabul and Herat to Delhi are safe,” the airline’s acting CEO Mirwais Mirzakwal told Reuters news agency.

Official sources in the province said the plane was en route to Ghazni from Herat when it crashed.

The plane crashed in a territory under Taliban control, Tolo news reported, adding that Afghan special forces will be sent to the crash site.

However, Ariana released a statement on its website saying all its aircraft were operational and safe.

The conflicting accounts could not immediately be reconciled. The number of people on board and their fate was not immediately known, nor was the cause of the crash.

The mountainous Ghazni province sits in the foothills of the Hindu Kush mountains and is bitterly cold in winter.

The last major commercial air crash in Afghanistan occurred in 2005 when a Kam Air flight from western Herat to the capital Kabul crashed into the mountains as it tried to land in snowy weather.

The South Asian nation, however, has seen several deadly crashes of military aircraft.

One of the most spectacular occurred in 2013 when an American Boeing 747 cargo jet crashed shortly after take-off from Bagram Air Base north of Kabul en route to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. All seven crew members were killed.