There is much speculation about who was in the US spy plane that crashed in Afghanistan’s Ghazni province on January 27.
Several media outlets quoting Russian intelligence sources have reported that Michael D’Andrea, head of CIA operations in Iran who orchestrated the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, was killed in the US spy plane.
If true, this would be a big blow to CIA operations in the region from Afghanistan and Iran to Iraq and beyond.
The Taliban claimed to have shot down the plane while the Americans said it had crashed due to “mechanical” problems without elaborating.
The Afghan government, trying to cover up for their American masters, said the plane that crashed belonged to the state-owned Ariana Airlines.
This claim was quickly refuted by Ariana chief saying no plane belonging to the Afghan civilian company had crashed anywhere in Afghanistan.
Photographs of the crashed plane shown on social media as well as on the Taliban website, http://alemarahenglish.com/?p=32051 identified it by its markings.
The aircraft is a Bombardier E-11A belonging to the US Air Force. It is the military variant of the civil Bombardier BD-700 Global Express for use as overhead communications-relay platform in Southwest Asia.
The plane reportedly served as the CIA’s mobile command for D’Andrea, appointed head of the agency’s Iran Mission Centre in 2017.
Zabihullah Mujahid, spokesman for the Taliban, claimed that the resistance group had twice repulsed attacks by Afghan government forces backed by the US military to reach the crash site in Sado Khelo area of Deh Yak district.
“The wreckage of the plane and corpses of dead are laying (sic) at the crash site,” said Zabihullah Mujahid in his statement published on the group’s website.
D’Andrea was reportedly a convert to Islam. He did so to marry a woman belonging to a wealthy Gujarati Muslim family living in Mauritius.
She is one of the senior directors of her family’s company Curumjee Group. It is speculated that it is used to provide cover for CIA operations.
According to The New York Times, D’Andrea oversaw hundreds of drone strikes that “killed thousands of Islamist militants and hundreds of civilians.”
It is interesting to note that initially the US corporate media did not report the downing of the plane. It was only last evening that it did so but there was no mention of D’Andrea.
If the CIA regional chief has not been killed in the plane crash, he has also not appeared in public to refute claims of his death.