Passenger plane with 83 onboard crashes in Taliban-held Afghanistan area
A passenger plane crashed in the Deh Yak district of Afghanistan's Ghazni province on Monday. According to Arif Noori, spokesperson for the provincial governor, the plane crashed at 1:10 pm local time due to technical reasons. Reportedly, the plane later caught fire. The plane was said to be carrying 83 passengers. However, the fate of the passengers was not immediately known.
Plane was flying from Herat to Ghazni: Report
Official sources in the Ghazni province told Al Jazeera that the plane went down while it was en route to Ghazni from Herat. Reportedly, three senior Afghan government officials had previously said that the plane that crashed belonged to the state-owned Ariana Afghan Airlines. They said the plane crashed in the Sado Khel area of Deh Yak district at 1:10 pm (2:10 pm IST).
Government officials fail to clear up confusion immediately
Even as Afghan Second Vice President Sarwar Danish said the Boeing aircraft belonged to Ariana, Ghazni governor's office said the plane belonged to a foreign company. Noori said it's not known if the plane was "military or commercial," however, confirmed it was an Ariana plane. Noori also blamed a technical glitch for the crash, however, the Interior Ministry said the cause was unknown.
Plane doesn't belong to Ariana, says airline CEO
Meanwhile, Ariana Airline denied the claims that its plane had crashed. Ariana's acting CEO Mirwais Mirzakwal Mirzakwal told Reuters, "There has been an airline crash but it doesn't belong to Ariana because the two flights managed by Ariana today from Herat to Kabul and Herat to Delhi are safe." A statement from the airline also said that all its aircrafts were "operational and safe."
Journalist, Afghan MP corroborate Ariana's claims
Kabul-based CBS journalist Ahmad Mukhtar tweeted, "The plane crashed in Ghani belongs to a foreign airline NOT ARIANA AIRLINE. Body of 2 pilots (both foreigners) recovered & the plane is completely destroyed in the crash. It was likely a transportation plane." Afghan MP Arif Rahmani tweeted that the plane didn't belong to Ariana, adding that ambulances were on their way to the crash site.
Afghan special forces reaching plane crash site: Report
There is a lot of confusion regarding the most basic details about the crash. Since the plane crashed in Taliban territory, officials have difficulty accessing the area, Deutsche Welle reported. According to Tolo News, Afghan special forces are being sent to the site.