A file photo of a flight of Afghanistan’s national carrier Ariana Airlines
Dhaka: A Boeing plane carrying 83 passengers crashed today in a Taliban-held area of Ghazni province, local officials said.
Arif Noori, spokesman for the provincial governor, said the plane went down around 1:10 pm (local time) in Deh Yak district, which is held by the Taliban. Two provincial council members also confirmed the crash.
A total of 83 people were on board at the time of crash. Their fate was not immediately known, nor was the cause of crash.
The plane was initially reported to have belonged to Afghanistan’s national carrier Ariana Airlines but the company, however, dismissed the claim, saying all their aircraft were operational and safe.
The mountainous Ghazni province sits in the foothills of the Hindu Kush mountains and is bitterly cold in winter.
The last major commercial air crash in Afghanistan occurred in 2005 when a Kam Air flight from western Herat to the capital Kabul crashed into the mountains as it tried to land in snowy weather.
The war however has seen a number of deadly crashes of military aircraft. One of the most spectacular occurred in 2013 when an American Boeing 747 cargo jet crashed shortly after takeoff from Bagram air base north of Kabul en route to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. All seven crew member were killed.
Afghanistan's aviation industry suffered desperately during the rule of the Taliban when its only airline Ariana was subject to punishing sanctions and allowed to fly only to Saudi Arabia for Hajj flights.
Since the overthrow of the religious regime smaller private airlines have emerged but the industry is still a nascent one.