The US Navy's elite SEAL Team 6 reportedly recovered two bodies and a flight recorder from the site where a US Air Force E-11A aircraft crashed in Afghanistan on Monday.
The SEALS intentionally destroyed sensitive military equipment that was aboard the aircraft, Newsweek reported.
The US Navy's elite SEAL Team 6 reportedly recovered two bodies from the site where a US Air Force E-11A aircraft crashed in the Ghazni province of Afghanistan on Monday.
The SEALs destroyed the plane's sensitive military equipment to prevent it from being captured, according to Newsweek. A US defense official told the publication that US officials had not ruled out an airstrike if they deem that the aircraft's remains still pose a risk.
The US has previously ordered airstrikes to keep material out of the hands of adversaries. Following President Donald Trump's decision last fall to pull troops out of Syria, the US Air Force sent F-15 jets to strike its own storage bunker to prevent it from falling into enemy hands.
After the crash on Monday, the Taliban ambushed Afghan security forces in a clash that prevented the recovery of the bodies.
The plane was part of the 430th Expeditionary Electronic Combat Squadron from the Kandahar air base in Afghanistan, Newsweek said. It issued a mayday call before the plane crashed at about 1 p.m. local time, a US defense official told the publication.
Four E-11s — business jets refitted with communications equipment that can link ground troops together — operate out of the Kandahar base.
Taliban forces initially claimed responsibility and said dozens of people were killed in the crash. US military officials on Monday, however, said that "there are no indications the crash was caused by enemy fire."
A Taliban spokesman also said that the militant group repelled a joint Afghan government and US military operation to secure the site but that a rescue team would be allowed to recover the bodies.
Afghan officials said that an initial recovery mission on Tuesday was canceled because of inclement weather and the Taliban presence in the area, The Washington Post reported. Several news reports citing US officials indicated that two to five people were aboard the aircraft.
Taliban forces have often exaggerated or fabricated their capabilities in the Afghanistan conflict. While the terrorist group has said it downed at least two US helicopters in the past 10 years, a strike against a flying airplane would signal an improbable shift from its known capabilities.
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