US fighter jet crashes in Afghanistan

Kabul, March 30 (IANS) A fighter jet of the US forces in Afghanistan crashed near a main airbase but the pilot was recovered by the coalition forces, the US-Forces Afghanistan said on Wednesday.

“A US Air Force F-16 assigned to the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing crashed during take-off on March 29 around 8.30 p.m. (local time) near Bagram airfield,” Xinhua news agency quoted the US forces as saying in a statement.

Bagram, some 50 km north of Afghan capital Kabul, has been serving as a main US military base in Afghanistan over the past 14 years.

“The pilot safely ejected, was recovered by coalition forces, and is being evaluated by medical personnel at the Craig Joint Theatre Hospital on Bagram,” it noted.

The coalition forces are securing the crash site. The F-16s at Bagram airfield provide 24-hour over-watch and close-air-support for ground units in Afghanistan, it said.

The Taliban militant group has claimed responsibility for shooting down the fighter jet.

However, the statement said that the “enemy fire was not a factor in the crash, and air force officials will investigate the cause of the crash.”

More information will be released as it becomes available, it said.

Nearly 13,000 foreign forces are currently stationed in the militancy-hit Afghanistan within the framework of the NATO-led Resolute Support (RS) mission to help Afghan forces in the field of training and advising.

The NATO and US forces completed their combat mission in Afghanistan by the end of 2014, after 13 years of military presence in the country.

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