U.S. Plane Goes Down In Afghanistan, Prompting Wave Of Questions, Contradictions
Updated at 1:49 p.m. ET
A plane crashed Monday in Afghanistan's eastern Ghazni province, and within hours, a swarm of conflicting reports had coalesced around the wreckage.
According to a U.S. official, the plane — a U.S. Bombardier E-11A — had two people on board, both of whom died in the crash. The official told NPR that the plane went down because of mechanical problems.
But that's not the only account of the incident.
A spokesman for the Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid, told NPR that insurgents with the group shot down the plane and that it had CIA officials on board. Earlier Monday, Mujahid referred to the plane on Twitter as an "enemy intelligence aircraft" and said the bodies of the intelligence officials were still lying near the crash site in the Sado Khelo region of Ghazni.
The militant group frequently exaggerates battlefield actions, and the claims could not be confirmed. Col. William "Sonny" Leggett, spokesman for the U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said that "Taliban claims that additional aircraft have crashed are false."
"While the cause of crash is under investigation," Leggett said in a tweeted statement, "there are no indications the crash was caused by enemy fire. We will provide additional information as it becomes available."
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Afghan Ministry of Defense, Ruhallah Ahmadzai, told NPR that the aircraft was not Afghan — neither civilian nor military. Ahmadzai said Afghan special forces have been deployed to the crash site.
Taliban claimed credit for downing the plane in Ghazni. Taliban say the plan was used for espionage purposes & that high ranking CIA officers are killed in the crash.