Sat, Sep 02, 2006
Officials Deny Reports Of Enemy Involvement
ANN REALTIME REPORTING 09.02.06 1345 EDT: Fourteen British
soldiers are dead, after their Nimrod MR2 marine reconnaisance
plane went down in Afghanistan Saturday.
Details of the incident are sketchy, although UK Defense
Minister Des Browne discounts Taliban reports a shoulder-fired
missile brought the aircraft (file photos of type, above and
"...At this stage all the indications are that this was a
terrible accident and not the result of hostile action," Browne
told the BBC.
The aircraft was supporting a NATO mission in the southern
region of Khandahar. Earlier, NATO officials said the organization
had launched a major offensive against known hideouts of Taliban
insurgents in the area.
Abdul Manan, a witness in Chalaghor village, told the Associated
Press the plane crashed about 100 yards from his home, and pieces
of wreckage landed nearby. He reported seeing a small fire at the
back of the plane before it hit the ground with a huge explosion
that "shook the whole village."
Officials believe the crash is the biggest single loss of
British troops since operations in Afghanistan began in 2001.
Including Saturday's crash, 36 British personnel have given their
lives supporting the war on terror in that country.
This crash is the second this week involving a coalition
aircraft in Afghanistan. As Aero-News reported, a Dutch pilot
was killed Thursday when his F-16 crashed in the southern province
A CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed in June
2005 after coming under enemy fire near the border
between Afghanistan and Pakistan, killing all 16 US soldiers
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