Uzbekistan says its armed forces have shot down an Afghan Air Force plane after the aircraft illegally entered the Central Asian nation’s airspace. 2 occupants were reported injured. The occupants are said to have bailed out by parachute.
Later, the Uzbek Prosecutor General’s Office said that three Embraer planes crossed the border of Uzbekistan on the night of August 15 and requested landing at the Karshi-Khanabad airport.
Two Mig-29 fighters of the Uzbek Air Force took off to intercept, and the Afghan planes were ordered to land at Termez Airport.
The plane crash in southeastern Uzbekistan, in the Surkhandarya region on the border with Afghanistan, was first reported by local media.
Later on Monday, Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti reported that it was told by the Uzbek defence ministry that their air defence system had downed the plane and “averted an attempt by an Afghan military plane to illegally cross Uzbekistan’s air border”. Two pilots, the agency said, were hospitalized in serious condition.
VIDEO from the site in Uzbekistan where an Afghan AF plane was shot down by Uzbek forces. pic.twitter.com/pSLx9Gwhmc
— FJ (@Natsecjeff) August 16, 2021
Within hours, the prosecutor general’s office in Uzbekistan issued a statement saying that an Afghan military plane had collided with an Uzbek plane that was scrambled to escort it to the airport in Termez, a city in Surkhandarya.
The office later retracted that statement, which also alleged that 22 warplanes and 24 military helicopters from Afghanistan carrying 585 servicemen “illegally crossed” into Uzbek airspace over the weekend and were forced by Uzbek authorities to land at Termez.
The prosecutor general’s office later apologized for a “hasty” statement on the messaging app Telegram and said it was not based on “verified data from the relevant authorities”.
The Associated Press news agency couldn’t immediately reconcile the conflicting reports or independently verify them.