A plane crashed Monday in Taliban-held territory in Afghanistan’s Ghazni province, south of the capital, Afghan officials said. It was not immediately clear how many people were on board the plane. Ariana Afghan Airlines denied reports that it was one of its passenger jets that had come down.
Provincial government spokesman Arif Noori told CBS News’ Ahmad Mukhtar the plane appeared to have been a flight between the southern city of Kandahar and the capital Kabul, about 643 miles to the north . Ghazni province is between those two locations.
Noori said the bodies of two pilots were found at the crash site and that the plane was completely destroyed. He did not mention any other casualties. Noori said it did not belong to an Afghan carrier, but could not confirmed who was operating the aircraft.
Emergency services were dispatched, but the fact that the plane came down in territory controlled by the Taliban insurgency – and the winter weather in the region – could make it more difficult to access the wreck, Noori said. There was no immediate indication as to what caused the crash, which was confirmed by Afghanistan’s Second Vice President Sarwar Danish.
Ariana, Afghanistan’s state-owned flagship carrier, issued a statement strongly denying multiple reports – including from Afghan government officials – that one of its planes had come down.
“All of Ariana Afghan flights are operating normally “the airline said in a post to its Facebook page.
Afghanistan’s Civil Aviation Authority also said in a Facebook post that it had received no reports of a civilian airliner going down, raising the possibility that it was a military or cargo aircraft that crashed.
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