Investigation continues into plane crash in Afghanistan

Thu 07 July 2011 13:54 GMT | 18:54 Local Time

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The cause of the crash of an Azerbaijani cargo plane in Afghanistan in the early hours of 6 July are not yet known.

The Azerbaijani members of the commission investigating the crash arrived at Bagram air base in Afghanistan early this morning.

The commission has held its first meeting in Bagram, commission member Adil Gasimov, adviser on quality to the director of the crashed plane's owners Silk Way Airlines, told APA.

He said that the commission included representatives of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan and the international coalition forces in Afghanistan.

The chairman of the commission from the Azerbaijani side is Azerbaijani Airlines (AZAL) Vice-President Ilham Amirov.

The commission is to visit the site of the crash on a remote mountainside tomorrow.

“They will travel to Parwan Province by car; then they will have to walk to two to three hours to reach the site. That’s why it was decided to leave tomorrow morning,” Gasimov said.

He thanked the US embassy in Azerbaijan for its help following the accident.

The commission members will "join the work of the experts who have already found fragments of the plane and bodies of the dead. Eight of the nine victims have already been identified," Chingiz Garibli, press secretary at the Azerbaijani embassy in Pakistan, told Interfax-Azerbaijan.

The Azerbaijani ambassador to Afghanistan, who has his residence in Pakistan, Dashgin Shikarov, said there was no confirmation of the Taliban's claims to have brought down the aircraft.

"We have no accurate information that the Azerbaijani Silk Way plane was shot down by Taliban members," Dashgin Shikarov told 1news.az.

"Azerbaijan will announce its official version of the cause of the plane crash once the special commission has completed its investigation. I want also to note that the aircraft did not have any malfunction. It went through a technical examination recently. In addition, the plane was flown by professionals," Shikarov said.

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).

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid made contradictory claims to Afghan and Iranian journalists that the plane had been shot down by the Taliban.

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

News.Az

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