Afghanistan Plane Crash Kills Four NATO Service Members

A plane crash in Afghanistan killed four NATO service members on Saturday. The plane crash happened on the same day as the Taliban announced the start of their spring offensive with attacks on both military and diplomatic targets.

NATO assured that initial reporting indicated no enemies in the area where the plane crashed. Coalition personnel quickly secured the site and were investigating the cause of the incident.

The brief statement released by NATO on Saturday did not identify the nationalities of those killed in the crash. It also did not say where the crash happened. However, Mohammad Jan Rasoulyar, deputy governor of the southern province of Zabul, stated that a foreign forces’ aircraft crashed in Shah Joy district.

Rasoulyar also confirmed that the site had been surrounded by international forces. The province’s police chief added that bad weather was likely to blame for the NATO plane crash. The US military confirmed that all four service members killed were Americans.

The news of the Afghanistan plane crash came on the same day as the Taliban announced their spring offensive, which is supposed to start on Sunday. The offensive is annual and comes as US-backed efforts continue to try and reconcile the Islamic militant movement with the Afghan government.

So far, the efforts have failed. Insurgents have already stepped up their attacks ahead of the spring offensive. April has been the deadliest month in Afghanistan so far this year. The Afghan Defense Ministry announced on Saturday that its forces are prepared for the Taliban’s latest campaign. The ministry added, “The Afghan National Army is ready to neutralize the offensive.”

So far in April 257 people, including civilians, Afghan security forces, and foreign troops, have been killed. During that time, 217 insurgents have also been killed. Despite the high death toll, US Marine General Joseph Dunford, the top commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, stated that the security situation in the Middle Eastern nation has improved. Afghan forces are now leading 80 percent of all conventional operations in the country.