Cargo Plane Crash Kills 7 Americans At Afghanistan’s Bagram Airfield; NATO Debunks Taliban's Claims Over The Accident

on April 30 2013 7:16 AM

A civilian cargo plane crashed at Bagram Airfield, north of the Afghan capital, soon after takeoff on Monday, killing all seven people aboard.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the crash, which took place at a key transport hub for the U.S.-led military operations in Afghanistan, but NATO denied that the plane was attacked.

In a statement to the Associated Press news agency, NATO said the Taliban's “claims are false.”

The coalition said the cause of the crash was being investigated, but there was no sign of insurgent activity in the area at the time.

The Boeing 747-400 — owned by National Airlines, a Florida-based subsidiary of National Air Cargo — was en route to Dubai, carrying vehicles and other cargo.

“This is a devastating loss for our family, and we'll work diligently with authorities to find the cause,” National Airlines President Glen Joerger said in the statement, as reported by the CNN.

“Our focus at this time is on the family members of those we've lost, and on assisting the the U.S. NTSB [National Transportation Safety Board] and Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority in their investigations.”

Five of the seven people who died in the crash were from Michigan, according to National Air Cargo vice president Shirley Kaufman, who spoke to the AP.

“We are not yet releasing the identities of the colleagues we lost, out of respect for their families who need a little more time to reach other loved ones,” she told AP.

The crash came two days after four U.S. military personnel were killed in a crash of an MC-12 surveillance aircraft in the southern Afghan province of Zabul.

The police chief in Zabul, Rogh Lewanai, told Reuters news agency on Saturday that bad weather caused that crash, which occurred in the district of Shahjoi.

The Pentagon said on Sunday the crash of the MC-12 was under investigation.

Zabul, located between Kandahar and Ghazni, has been a flashpoint of Taliban activity in recent weeks, including a suicide bomb attack in early April that killed a young U.S. diplomat, several U.S. soldiers and an unnamed U.S. civilian. Dozens of Afghan civilians also have been killed there this month, according to Reuters.

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