The United States on January 28 reportedly recovered the remains of two American service members who were killed in the crash of an air force plane in Afghanistan. According to international media reports, the US military said that an E-11A aircraft has been crashed in the province of Ghazni and only two people were on board. However, the authorities have not yet announced the identity of the two publicly.
A Taliban spokesperson had reportedly claimed that the group had shot the plane down over the territory under their control, but the US official said that there was no indication that the plane was downed by hostile action, and the American recovery team met no Taliban resistance in reaching the crash site. A spokesperson from US Forces-Afghanistan further also tweeted that the cause of the crash is still under investigation and “there are no indications that the crash was caused by enemy fire”.
According to international media reports, the Afghan forces and Taliban fighters even clashed in the central region where the US military plane crashed as the government tried to reach the wreckage site in Ghazi province. However, the US military in a statement reportedly said that the US forces recovered the remains and they were treated with dignity and respect by the local Afghan community. The forces even recovered what is believed to be the flight data recorder and the destroyed remnants of the plane.
Taliban holds much of Ghazni province and the recent plane crash is not expected to derail the US-Taliban peace talks. The US and Taliban have been negotiating a reduction in hostilities or a ceasefire to allow signing of the peace agreement that could reportedly bring home approximately 13,000 American troops and open the way to a border postwar deal for Afghans.
The United States officials negotiating in the Doha talks have also reportedly asked the Taliban to agree to a long-term reduction in violence before inking a peace deal. According to reports, a former member of the Taliban, Maulana Jalaluddin Shinwari said that United States envoy Zalmay Khalilzad had asked the Taliban that there should be a mutual agreement on reducing violence. Shinwari further added that the militant group is holding talks with its leaders and there is hope for a positive outcome.
(Image source: AP)