U.S. Air Force communications aircraft crashes in Taliban controlled district

A U.S. Air Force communications aircraft has crashed in a district in the eastern Afghan province of Ghazni that is currently held by the Taliban. A video purporting to show the crash scene has surfaced.

Two U.S. Air Force pilots were killed in the crash and a U.S. Military official confirmed that an E-11 communication aircraft has been lost, CBS News reported. However, it is likely additional personnel were onboard to operate the communication equipment.

The Aviationist reviewed a video of the wreckage and confirmed that the plane was an E-11A BACN (Battlefield Airborne Communications Node). The aircraft is used to facilitate communications between warplanes and troops on the ground.

In an official statement released in English on Voice of Jihad, the Taliban noted that a U.S. military aircraft “crashed in Sado Khelo area of Deh Yak district” in Ghazni.

The Taliban did not claim credit for downing the E-11A, as has been reported by some journalists in Afghanistan. The Taliban did, however, claim it “shot down” a helicopter in Helmand province today.

The Taliban has left the door open that it may have shot down the E-11A.

“It should be mentioned that a number of enemy aircrafts and helicopters have been downed by Mujahideen in Helmand, Balkh and other provinces of the country in recent days,” it said in its statement announcing the crash.

Afghan officials have stated that commandos are being sent to Deh Yak to secure the crash site.

Ghazni is one of the most unstable provinces in Afghanistan. Deh Yak district is one of the 11 districts in Ghazni that are currently controlled by the Taliban. The remaining eight districts in Ghazni are contested, according to an ongoing study of the security situation in Afghanistan’s districts by FDD’s Long War Journal.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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