US pilot safe after aircraft crashes in Afghanistan

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Kabul (dpa) – A US Air Force pilot flying an Afghan Air Force A-29 Super Tucano safely ejected before the aircraft crashed during a training flight in Afghanistan, a US military spokesman confirmed on Friday.

“The pilot ejected prior to the crash and was safely recovered,” the US army in Afghanistan said.

While the cause of the incident is under investigation, preliminary indications show that the aircraft crashed due to “mechanical” issues, the spokesman added.

The US army spokesman did not disclose where the crash occurred.

However, local officials in Afghanistan’s north-eastern Baghlan province on Thursday confirmed that an army aircraft had crashed in the province’s Doshi district where Taliban militants have a huge presence. The officials said the pilot rescued himself using a parachute.

The Afghan army did not comment on whether the US instructor was flying the aircraft alone or with an Afghan pilot.

The A-29 light attack aircraft is used for air support and has two seats.

The US-led NATO Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan provides training, advice and assist mission to Afghan forces to enhance their capabilities in the fight against the insurgency in the country.

Currently, there are around 12,000 international troops from 38 countries including the US stationed in Afghanistan.

The US signed a peace agreement with the Taliban in February that paves the way for the withdrawal of all international troops from Afghanistan and, in exchange, the group should start intra-Afghan talks in a bid to end the 19-year conflict.

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