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Fighter crew killed in Afghan crash: US military

The two crew of a US F-15E fighter plane which came down in mountainous eastern Afghanistan on Saturday died in the crash, the US Air Force said in a statement issued in Qatar.

world Updated: Jul 18, 2009 20:18 IST

The two crew of a US F-15E fighter plane which came down in mountainous eastern Afghanistan on Saturday died in the crash, the US Air Force said in a statement issued in Qatar.

A team of US and coalition forces immediately responded to the crash site, secured it, and recovered the airmen, according to a statement issued by Air Force regional command in Qatar.

"The crash was not due to hostile fire. A board of officers will be convened to conduct a thorough investigation of the incident," the statement said.

The men's names will be released when their next of kin have been informed, it said.

Mohammad Qasim, acting district chief of Nawur district in southeastern Ghazni province, said the aircraft came down early Saturday and flames were seen rising from its wreckage.

"The plane crashed in Nawur district at around 2:00 am (2130 GMT Friday) this morning. The area has been sealed off by US forces. Helicopters have arrived on the spot. We could see flames coming out of the wreckage," Qasim told AFP.

The Taliban has shot down several military helicopters since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 but the Islamic militants are known to lack weapons to hit fighter jets, which fly at a much higher altitude.

There are about 90,000 international troops in Afghanistan to fight a growing Taliban-led insurgency against the western-backed government in Kabul.

The US military makes up the bulk of the international military coalition in Afghanistan and operates the largest air force in the country.