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Civilian cargo plane crashes near Afghan capital

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • NEW: Eight people on the plane are believed to be killed
  • U.S. cargo company is investigating the crash
  • A statement from ISAF says plane was not one of theirs
  • "Early reports indicate the plane is an L-100 Hercules," ISAF say
  • Kabul
  • Bagram Airbase
  • NATO

(CNN) -- The eight people on a civilian cargo plane that crashed in the Afghan mountains near Kabul on Tuesday are presumed dead, a spokesman for Afghanistan's minister of transport said.

NATO's International Security Assistance Force said the crash occurred before 8 p.m. around 25 to 30 kilometers (15 to 18 miles) east of Kabul International Airport.

Ros Mohammad, deputy minister of transport, said the crash took place around Mahipar Mountain east of the capital.

A source from the Afghan air force said the cargo plane took off from Bagram air base and was landing at Kabul airport, which amounts to a 30- to 45-minute flight. The source wasn't authorized to speak about the matter and asked for anonymity.

Preston Murray, president of Michigan-based National Air Cargo, said he could not specify the nationalities of those on board, but did not believe any to be American.

The plane is owned and operated by Trans Afrique of Ghana, he said. National Air Cargo is a customer, he said.

National Air Cargo received reports "that the plane was on the radar and then it wasn't," Murray said.

An ISAF statement said the plane was not an ISAF aircraft, and Lt. Col. John Dorrian, ISAF spokesman, said the aircraft was from Uganda.

"Early reports indicate the plane is an L-100 Hercules aircraft, the civilian equivalent of a military C-130," the statement said. ISAF said the airport is expected to remain open.

Afghan and ISAF service members were conducting the search-and-rescue mission.

The incident comes on the same day a rocket-propelled grenade was fired at a NATO helicopter after it landed in Kunar province. That strike killed an Afghan interpreter and wounded eight people -- seven NATO-led service members and an Afghan police officer. There were 26 people on the craft.

Earlier this year, 44 people were killed when a plane crashed in the mountainous Kabul region. It had been en route in May from Kunduz to Kabul. The plane was carrying 38 passengers and six crew members when it crashed at 13,500 feet (4,100 meters).

CNN's Ivan Watson and CNN producer Najibullah Sharifi contributed to this report.