U.S. troops and Afghan security forces reportedly clashed on Tuesday with Taliban fighters in the country’s Ghazni province as authorities attempt to reach a crashed U.S. military aircraft.
Reuters reported that the attack, which was apparently repelled by the Taliban, came amid an attempt by the U.S. and Afghanistan’s government to reach the site of a crashed E-11A communications aircraft believed to be carrying at least two U.S. service members.
U.S. defense officials told Reuters that the Taliban’s claims of downing the aircraft were “misleading”, as preliminary reports indicated a mechanical failure was involved.
“While the cause of the crash is under investigation, there are no indications the crash was caused by enemy fire,” a spokesman for the Air Force said Monday.
“Taliban claims that additional aircraft have crashed are false,” the spokesman added.
A spokesman for the Taliban told Reuters that the casualty numbers are higher than those estimated by U.S. officials, and claimed that U.S. troops will be allowed to access the area.
“Taliban fighters on the ground counted six bodies at the site of the U.S. airplane crash,” the spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid, told Reuters.
U.S. forces have not yet reached the site of the crash, and it is not officially known yet how many people were on board or whether any survived.