Sun, Jul 19, 2009 - Page 4 News List

Two killed in US fighter jet crash in Afghanistan


A US military F-15E fighter jet crashed in Afghanistan early yesterday, killing two crew members, a US military spokesman said.

A second fighter aircraft traveling with the jet that went down saw no evidence of enemy fire, US military spokesman Colonel Greg Julian said.

No fighter jets have crashed in Afghanistan in years. Militants are able to shoot down helicopters with rockets, but are not known to have the anti-aircraft weaponry necessary to bring down a high-flying jet.

The military says the F-15E crashed in eastern Afghanistan at about 3:15am yesterday. The military did not immediately specify where the jet crashed. Many areas of eastern Afghanistan, which borders Pakistan, are filled with craggy mountains.

The crash will be investigated by a board of officers, the military said.

Meanwhile, bombs killed a dozen people in southern Afghanistan, including a British soldier and five children, authorities said, as US and British officials consider sending more troops to combat the growing Taliban insurgency.

The five children were among 11 people who died on Friday when a roadside bomb struck their vehicle in the Spin Boldak district of southern Kandahar Province near the border with Pakistan, police General Saifullah Hakim said.

The victims, all members of an extended family, were traveling to a local Muslim religious shrine for Friday prayer services, Hakim said.

Kandahar is the birthplace of the Taliban and Hakim blamed the blast on the Islamic militants who plant bombs along roads in the area to target Afghan and foreign troops.

“Innocent civilians are dying as a result,” he said.

In London, the British Ministry of Defense said a British soldier was killed on Thursday when a bomb exploded near a foot patrol in Gereshk, an industrial city of Helmand Province where fighting has been raging this month. The soldier’s death brings to 48 the number of NATO soldiers killed in Afghanistan this month — the deadliest month for the international force since the war began in 2001.

The US command, meanwhile, said Afghan and US soldiers killed 10 insurgents on Friday in Kunar Province of eastern Afghanistan.

US commanders had been expecting bigger losses since US President Barack Obama ordered 21,000 additional US troops to Afghanistan this year to curb a resurgent Taliban, which was ousted from power in the US-led invasion of 2001.

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