WASHINGTON — The U.S. military recovered the remains of two personnel aboard a U.S. Air Force Bombardier E-11A aircraft that crashed Monday in Afghanistan.
"The remains were found near the crash site, treated with dignity and respect by the local Afghan community, in accordance with their culture," according to a U.S. Forces Afghanistan statement that was released Tuesday. "The cause of the crash remains under investigation, however there are no indications the crash was caused by enemy fire."
Pending positive identification and in accordance with the Defense department's policy, the names of the service members are withheld until 24 hours after next of kin notification.
After the U.S recovered what is assessed to be the flight data recorder the force destroyed the remnants of the aircraft.
On Monday, chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force, Gen. Dave Goldfein, confirmed to CNBC that the U.S. Air Force lost an E-11A military airplane. The plane crashed in territory currently under Taliban control.
The E-11A is an electronics surveillance aircraft used to bridge communications on the battlefield. Given the mountainous and rugged terrain in Afghanistan, the E-11A is essential for transmitting communications between ground units, commanders as well as other assets in the region. The aircraft is assigned to the 430th Expeditionary Electronic Combat Squadron at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan.
Speaking to reporters during a Pentagon press briefing, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said Monday that he was "aware of the situation" and that he had "nothing further to report at this time."
U.S. Forces Afghanistan spokesman Col. Sonny Leggett said in a statement that the cause of the crash was under investigation and that there were "no indications the crash was caused by enemy fire."
Leggett added that Taliban claims of additional downed aircraft were false.