VICE News is covering the ongoing fight for the future of Afghanistan. Click here for more from the Enduring Freedom blog.
An American military C-130 transport plane crashed at an airfield in Afghanistan shortly after midnight on Friday local time, killing all 11 people on board, the US military said, while describing the crash as an accident. Meanwhile, the Taliban said its fighters had shot down the aircraft.
The cause of the crash at Jalalabad airfield was under investigation, a spokesman said, refusing to rule out the possibility that there may be dead or wounded on the ground.
First responders were on the scene, he said. Six American military service members and five civilian contractors who were employed by the US-led international force in Afghanistan were killed in the crash.
'15 invaders and a number of slave soldiers were killed'
A spokesman for the Taliban militant movement seeking to topple the government claimed responsibility, but the US added said there were no reports of enemy fire at the time.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on Twitter that its fighters shot down the plane, saying "15 invaders and a number of slave soldiers were killed." The insurgents typically claim responsibility for any coalition air crash.
A statement from the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing at Bagram Airfield described it as "an accident," without offering details.
The crash came hours after Afghan troops recaptured the centre of the strategic northern city of Kunduz on Thursday amid fierce clashes with Taliban militants, three days after losing the provincial capital.
Shocking civilian testimonies of what happened during the days the Taliban controlled the city have already begun to emerge. Women human rights workers from Kunduz told Amnesty International that the Taliban used "hit list" to track down activists, after taking control of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) and gaining access to reams of information about NGO staff, government employees and members of the security forces.
Escapees also claimed fighters had raped and killed numerous civilians.
The Taliban have been fighting to regain power since being toppled by a US-led intervention in 2001.
The number of US deaths in Afghanistan has fallen sharply after the United States wrapped up its formal combat mission last year, although American special forces and airstrikes were involved in this week's counter-offensive in Kunduz.
In 2011, Taliban militants shot down a US military Chinook helicopter, killing all 38 people on board.