USAF Plane Downed in Central Afghanistan, Taliban Shootdown Claimed

Local reporters say at least two died in crash

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.

The E-11A is a communications plane, used primarily to extend radio signals and other communications for US troops on the ground. Officials say that such planes are meant to constantly be in the sky over such areas, which may make them appealing targets for the Taliban.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.