Taliban plane crash claims 'contradictory'

Wed 06 Jul 2011 09:17 GMT | 13:17 Local Time

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The Azerbaijani embassy in Pakistan has described as "contradictory" Taliban claims that they brought down an Azerbaijani cargo plane in Afghanistan.

The Il-76 cargo plane crashed into a mountainside in Siagerd in Afghanistan's Parwan Province at approximately 02.10 Baku time on Wednesday 6 July (21.10 GMT on 5 July). The plane was flying from the Azerbaijani capital Baku to Bagram military base, carrying cargo for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

Taleban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed to Afghan journalists that the plane had been shot down by the Taliban, Iran's Fars news agency reported.

A source in the Azerbaijani embassy in Pakistan, which represents Azerbaijan in Afghanistan, said that Zabiullah Mujahid's claims were contradictory.

"Taliban representative Zabihullah Mujahed told Iranian media that the Azerbaijani cargo plane had been shot down by them. However, in his statement for the Afghan media he said that they had shot down a helicopter in the area. That is, there are contradictions in the Taliban representative's statements. It is less likely that the aircraft was shot down by the Taliban since the movement is very weak in this area," the embassy source said.

Siagerd's district governor, Abdulhalim Mujaddidi, denied the Taliban were responsible for the crash.

He told Reuters that the remains of eight of the nine crew members had been recovered, while it was impossible for the ninth to have survived.

Six of the nine crew members were Azerbaijani citizens, according to a spokesman for Azerbaijan's Silk Way Airlines, owners of the crashed plane.

According to latest reports, the Afghan government has set up a special commission to investigate the crash of the Azerbaijani Il-76 north of the capital city.




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