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Force Recovers Missing Crew, Aircraft in Afghanistan

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 27, 2009 – International Security Assistance Force members today recovered the remains of three civilian crewmembers and the wreckage of an aircraft missing for two weeks in the rugged mountains of northeastern Afghanistan, military officials reported.

The crew was flying an Army C-12 Huron when they failed to return to Bagram Airfield after a routine mission early Oct. 13 above Afghanistan’s Nuristan province.

Due to continued recovery efforts, officials said, information was not immediately released so as to not interfere with operations. Upon visible inspection of the site, the mission changed from search and rescue to search and recovery.

The incident is under investigation, though hostile action is not believed to be the cause of the crash, officials said.

Additionally, a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter en route to the recovery site Oct. 17 experienced a strong downdraft and performed a hard landing near the site. All crewmembers were rescued. On Oct. 21, the aircraft was stripped of its sensitive and useable parts, and destroyed in place Oct. 25. Mountainous terrain and elevation prevented aircraft recovery operations. Hostile action was not involved, officials said.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, an Afghan and international security force killed several militants yesterday in Paktia province during an operation to pursue a suspected Haqqani terrorist bomb maker and his associates.

The Haqqani element is believed responsible for several homemade bomb attacks in the Khowst-Gardez Pass in southeastern Afghanistan.

Security forces coordinated an air strike on the enemy location based on intelligence that Haqqani militants were in transit outside Haqdad Kheyl village in Wuza Zadran district. A combined security force ground element searched the location, confirmed that militants were killed by the air strike and identified the sought-after Haqqani bomb maker among those killed.

During the search, the force also seized bomb-making components, small-arms weapons and communications gear.

(Compiled from International Security Assistance Force Joint Command news releases.)

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