PESHAWAR: Another US spy plane crashed in the mountainous Shakeen area near Angoor Adda of the South Waziristan Agency (SWA) on Saturday afternoon.
The military and political administration officials based in Angoor Adda — a border town between SWA and Afghanistan’s restive Paktika province — told this correspondent that they had received reports about a US drone crash in Shakeen.
But, they said, wreckage of the spy plane had not yet been located. A senior government official, requesting anonymity, told The News from Wana by telephone that the spy plane had crashed due to a technical fault.
He said Shakeen tribesmen told a team of government officials that was sent to collect wreckage of the drone that Taliban militants were seen firing at the CIA-operated device.
However, despite efforts, the team could not locate the destroyed US spy plane to collect the wreckage, he added.
He said the villagers told members of the investigation team that they had seen a small plane-like object rolling down towards the earth in the mountains.
The official argued that the area was mountainous and forested; therefore, it would take time to find exact information about the incident and collect the wreckage.
Military officials based at Angoor Adda also said that they had sent their teams to the area to investigate reports about the plane crash.
“The villagers and soldiers of the paramilitary Frontier Corps based around Shakeen were dead sure that the plane had crashed in the mountains,” explained a military official from Angoor Adda, pleading anonymity.
He said some of the teams sent to the area for collecting wreckage of the crashed plane returned empty handed as they could not visit the distant mountains because of darkness and insecurity.
When reached by telephone, military spokesman and Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Athar Abbas said they had also received reports that a US spy plane had crashed in South Waziristan.
He said several teams had been sent to the area to gather information about the happening and to collect the wreckage if there was any.
He said that none of the investigating teams had so far been able to collect exact information about the incident and wreckage of the plane. The area was mountainous and darkness was another hurdle for the military teams, he added.
“Once we recover the wreckage, I will confirm it to the media,” said the military spokesman while talking to this correspondent by telephone from his Rawalpindi residence.
A senior Taliban commander of Maulvi Nazeer group operating in the border areas of South Waziristan told this scribe by telephone that their men had not shot down the US plane.
“We have been firing at the US spy planes flying round the clock over our villages, but we did not shoot down this plane,” the militant commander said.
AFP adds: Taliban militants on Saturday shot down a pilotless US drone in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, officials said. Residents and a local police official said two drones were flying low over a village in South Waziristan when one of them was hit by militant fire. “We heard the firing by Taliban and then a drone fell down,” tribal police official Israr Khan told AFP.