USAF F-16 Crashes in Afghanistan, Pilot Safely Ejects

A Pentagon spokesman says a U.S. Air Force pilot is safe after an F-16 plane crashed during takeoff near Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. The pilot was able to safely eject from the plane. (Reuters)

USAF F-16 fighter jet crashes in Afghanistan during takeoff from Bagram Airfield

An F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jet crashed Tuesday night in Afghanistan shortly after taking off north of Kabul at Bagram Airfield, but the pilot ejected and has been safely recovered, military officials said.

USAF F-16 555th EFS taking off Bagram AB, Afghanistan 6 Sept 2015

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft assigned to the 555th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron taking off on a combat sortie from Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, Sept. 6, 2015 (Photo by AFP/Getty Images)

The incident occurred about 8:30 p.m. in Afghanistan, said Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook. Coalition troops responded and retrieved the pilot and were securing the crash site north of the airfield, said Capt. Bryan Bouchard, an U.S. Air Force spokesman on the base. The pilot was under evaluation Tuesday evening at Craig Joint Theater Hospital on the base.

It is not believed that the plane was hit with any kind of enemy fire, Bouchard said. The cause of the crash is under investigation, but it is not believed that there were any casualties on the ground as a result of the downed aircraft, he said.

The single-man jets typically fly in pairs, providing close air support and aerial reconnaissance for ground troops.

Bagram Air Field is located northeast of Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, and is the U.S. military’s main base of operations in Afghanistan.

Cook added that the cause of the accident is under investigation.

There are 9,800 American troops still in Afghanistan as part of a training and advisory mission.

The number of U.S. troops was slated to be reduced to 5,500 by year’s end, but a resurgent Taliban has led U.S. military commanders to review those plans.

USAF F-16 421st EFS Bagram AB, Afghanistan 01 Feb 2016

An USAF F-16 Fighting Falcon from the 421st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron launches from Bagram on Feb. 1. (Tech. Sgt. Nicholas Rau/U.S. Air Force)

By Luis Martinez ( and  By Dan Lamothe ( – 30 March 2016

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