A mechanical issue is believed to have caused the E-11A to crash.
January 28, 2020, 7:02 PM
4 min read
The U.S. military recovered on Tuesday the remains of the two individuals on board the U.S. Air Force aircraft that crashed in central Afghanistan, according to three officials.
On Monday, a spokesperson for U.S. Forces Afghanistan confirmed that a U.S. Bombardier E-11A crashed in Ghazni province.
“While the cause of crash is under investigation, there are no indications the crash was caused by enemy fire,” said spokesperson Col. Sonny Leggett in the statement. “We will provide additional information as it becomes available.”
Several factors delayed Tuesday’s recovery of the bodies, including weather conditions and security precautions that were taken in order to reach the location of the crash, which is in a Taliban stronghold south of Kabul, one defense official said. Afghan forces secured the area, allowing the U.S. military to conduct the recovery operations, the official added.
The Pentagon has not yet identified the two individuals killed in the crash.
A mechanical issue is believed to have caused the E-11A to crash on Monday, the defense official said. A second official told ABC News that the pilots had declared an in-flight emergency.
In the aftermath of the crash, the Taliban said they had shot down the aircraft — a claim rebutted by Leggett in his statement on Monday. He also called Taliban claims that additional aircraft had crashed “false.”
Two 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers were killed by an improvised explosive device, or IED, while conducting combat operations in Kandahar province, Afghanistan on Jan. 11. They were later identified as Staff Sgt. Ian Paul McLaughlin of Newport News, Virginia, and Pfc. Miguel Angel Villalon of Joliet, Illinois.
ABC News’ James Meek and Abby Cruz contributed to this report.