Eleven people, including six American soldiers, were killed on Friday when a C-130 military transport plane of the US Air Force crashed in Jalalabad, the capital of eastern Nangarhar province, the Pentagon said, but the Taliban claimed shooting down the plane.
“The cause of the accident is currently under investigation. More information will be released as it is gathered,” the Pentagon said in a press statement.
The statement said the Air Force C-130J assigned to the 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, part of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing, crashed on Friday at approximately 12:19 am at Jalalabad Airfield.
“The crew (6 US service members) and passengers (five civilians) died in the crash,” the Pentagon said. The crash also killed two Afghans on the ground, but military officials could not immediately confirm those reports.
The Taliban claimed to have shot down the C-130 military transport plane. The crash comes as Afghan forces backed by NATO special forces and US air support, pushed into the centre of the northern city of Kunduz which was captured by the Taliban on Monday.
“Our mujahideen have shot down a four-engine US aircraft in Jalalabad,” Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Twitter. “Based on credible information 15 invading forces and a number of puppet troops were killed.”
The C-130 crash, which occurred at about midnight local time on Friday, left six US soldiers and five civilian contractors dead.
The Jalalabad airport had come under attack from Taliban suicide bombers in the past. In December 2012, Taliban suicide bombers killed at least five people in an hours-long battle at the airport, the third attack on it that year.
The C-130 Hercules is a cargo plane built by Lockheed Martin. It is powered by four turboprop engines and is used extensively by the military to ship troops and heavy gear. It can take off and land on rough, dirt strips and is widely used by the US military in hostile areas. (PAN)