Verifications are still underway on a Taliban claim that they shot down a United States Army C-130 Hercules transport plane shortly after midnight Afghan time. Sources of the US contingent in Afghanistan indicated that the downing of the US plane near the Jalalabad airport left 6 US soldiers and 5 civilians dead. All the victims were reportedly engaged in the Resolute Support mission for the training of Afghani forces. The Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid instead claimed on Twitter that 15 US soldiers and an unspecified number of civilians were killed in the downing of the plane.
No official confirmation has arrived from the NATO, though the Jalalabad airport has been theater to various attacks by the Taliban due to its strategic location between the east and the capital Kabul, in addition to being home to a key army base.
Whether an attack or incidental, the crash of the US plane adds to the mounting uncertainty of the past days. Despite the arrival of reinforcements and optimistic declarations by the Afghan military authorities, in the northern city of Kunduz, invaded Monday by hundreds of Taliban militants, the NATO-backed government force counter-offensive continues. In various areas of the city operations and clashes continue, in confirmation of the determination and organization of the armed militants, which in fact had their last stronghold in Kunduz before their defeat in 2001, but also the lack of motivation and weakness of the national armed forces.
However, the progress made by the Taliban in the homonymous province, as also in the nearby Takhar and Baghlan provinces emphasize the risk that northern Afghanistan become the center of a strong advance in the next months.