KABUL, Afghanistan — Search craft yesterday spotted the torn-apart wreckage of a commercial airliner that disappeared Monday while flying over Afghanistan’s Hindu Kush mountains with 44 people on board, including six foreigners, officials said.
Also yesterday, the Pentagon announced that one colonel and two lieutenant colonels were among five American soldiers killed Tuesday by a suicide car bomber in Kabul. Deaths of so many senior officers in a single attack are rare.
Photos supplied by NATO forces show the plane was broken into four pieces strewn across a steep mountainside — suggesting survival was unlikely. It wasn’t clear whether any of the helicopters flying over the crash site for much of the day were able to land on the rugged terrain.
The Antonov-24, operated by Pamir Airways, was flying from the northern city of Kunduz to Kabul when air traffic controllers lost track of it north of the capital. Three British citizens and an American were among the six foreigners on board, officials said.
Poor weather and the terrain hampered the search, but aircraft confirmed that the tail section had been found in mountains about 24 miles north of Kabul, acting Aviation Minister Mohammadullah Batash said. Searchers identified the blue Pamir Airways logo on the tail, he said.
NATO, which aided the search, said the crash site was about 13,500 feet high in the Shakar Darah district of Kabul Province.
Pamir’s chief executive officer, Amanullah Hamid, said the plane was last inspected about three months ago in Bulgaria.