A plane crashed Monday in Afghanistan’s eastern Ghazni province, and within hours, a swarm of conflicting reports had coalesced around the wreckage.
According to a U.S. official, the plane was a small American fixed-wing aircraft with two people on board, both of whom died in the crash. The official told NPR that the plane went down because of mechanical problems.
But that’s not the only account of the incident.
A spokesman for the Taliban, Zabihullah Mujahid, told NPR that insurgents with the group shot down the plane and that it had CIA officials on board. Earlier Monday, Mujahid referred to the plane on Twitter as an “enemy intelligence aircraft” and said the bodies of the intelligence officials were still lying near the crash site in the Sado Khelo region of Ghazni.
Taliban claimed credit for downing the plane in Ghazni. Taliban say the plan was used for espionage purposes & that high ranking CIA officers are killed in the crash. Taliban never had anti-aircraft weapon, the question is how they downed the plane? pic.twitter.com/iRAQteu8r5
— Ahmad Mukhtar (@AhMukhtar) January 27, 2020
On a surprise trip to Afghanistan on Thursday, President Trump said that the United States has reopened peace talks with the Taliban – just three months after the president scuttled negotiations between Washington and the Afghan insurgents following a terror attack that killed 11 people, including one U.S. soldier.
Trump, who made his first trip to Afghanistan under a veil of secrecy for security reasons, told troops gathered at the Air Force base for Thanksgiving dinner that the Taliban “wants to make a deal very badly.”
“We’re going to stay until such time as we have a deal, or we have total victory, and they want to make a deal very badly,” Trump said. “The Taliban wants to make a deal — we’ll see if they make a deal. If they do, they do, and if they don’t they don’t. That’s fine.”
“We hope to have good news soon for our Muslim, independence-seeking nation,” said Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the Taliban’s political office in Doha.
The explosion occurred after the U.S. and Taliban reported progress in peace talks in Qatar earlier this week, and was the latest in a series of explosions and suicide attacks in Afghanistan.
Source: : NPR
The grand assembly is meeting in Kabul this week to discuss peace and called for an immediate ceasefire between the government and militants.
President Ashraf Ghani agreed to a truce provided it was not “one-sided”.
But the Taliban rejected the call and accused members of being government allies.
In 2018 the Taliban agreed a three-day ceasefire coinciding with Eid at the end of the holy month of Ramadan – their first since the 2001 US-led invasion.
Speaking at the meeting of the loya jirga – a grand tribal council attended by 3,200 religious leaders, politicians and representatives from across the country – Mr Ghani said: “Let us prove that only Western countries cannot solve this conflict. There is also human civilisation here.”