A senior U.S. CIA officer, Michael D’Andrea, was killed in the crash of a U.S. warplane on January 27 in Ghazni province, Afghanistan, Iran’s Mehr news agency reported, citing Russian intelligence sources.
According to him, D’Andrea oversaw operations in the Middle East and, in particular, the attack on the head of the special unit “Al-Quds” of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of Iran Kasem Suleimani.
The special operation in question was carried out by the U.S. military on the night of January 3 near Baghdad International Airport, near which U.S. military bases are located. There were powerful explosions. According to The New York Times, drones were used in the attack. Suleimani was in one of the attacking vehicles.
The slain general commanded the Al-Quds Battalion, one of the most capable parts of the IRGC, which is actively involved in military conflicts in Syria and Iraq.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called Suleimani’s murder an act of international terrorism by Washington. He called the general the “most effective force” in the fight against Islamic State (IS), Jabhat al-Nusra and al-Qaeda (all three organizations are considered terrorist in Russia, their activities are prohibited).
At the same time, the Pentagon justifies its actions by the fact that Suleimani “actively worked on plans to attack American diplomats and military personnel in Iraq and other countries of the region.” According to the U.S. military, the strike that killed the general “was aimed at deterring future plans for attacks by Iran.”
Tehran responded to the killing by Operation Suleimani’s Martyr on the night of January 8, 2020. It was directed against the U.S. military involvement in the assassination of an Iranian general. THE IRGC military attacked two U.S. air bases in Iraq and called it retaliation for Suleimani’s killing.
According to representatives of the Afghan Taliban (an organization banned in Russia), which is banned in Russia as a terrorist, in the downed in the province of Ghazni, the U.S. Air Force, in addition to Michael D’Andrea, killed many high-ranking U.S. CIA officials, reports The Tasnim News Agency.
Police chief Ghazni said four bodies were found at the crash site and two other people were found alive, but their location was not disclosed, Reuters reported. According to anonymous sources in the United States, there were at least five people on board.
The crash occurred in the rural area of Deh Yak in Ghazni province. The territory is under the control of the Taliban. Initially, it was reported that the passenger airliner Ariana Afghan Airlines, which was flying to New Delhi, crashed in Ghazni, but after a while, the airline representatives denied this information.
Ghazni Provincial Governor Wahidullah Kalimzai said no passenger plane crashed in Afghanistan, Ariana News quoted him as saying on Twitter. This information was confirmed by representatives of the Civil Aviation Authority of the country. The ministry assured that all Afghan passenger ships are all right.
Referring to reports from local residents, Kalimzai said that the aircraft was badly burned and the pilot, apparently a foreign national, was pulled out of it.
An anonymous U.S. official later said the crashed plane belonged to the U.S. Armed Forces. He said the Bombardier E-11A BACN, which is used as an air hub in the mountainous landscape, was identified at the crash site.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the disaster.
The Taliban claim that there were American servicemen on board the aircraft, including high-ranking officers. According to them, all of them together with the crew of the plane died as a result of the attack of the militants.
The U.S. side acknowledged the loss of the plane, but U.S. Command spokesman Col. Sonny Leggett did not confirm that the Taliban were involved in the crash. He said the cause of the crash was under investigation.