On Saturday, 18 July 2009, a United States fighter jet crash killed two American pilots in eastern Afghanistan. On Monday, 20 July 2009, a NATO fighter crash at Kandahar Airfield injured two pilots. This was one in a series of crashes to occur in Afghanistan within a week’s time.
A Series of Crashes in Afghanistan
On 14 July 2009, a helicopter crashed in Helmund under suspected enemy fire. The crash killed six Ukranian civilians and one Afghan civilian. On 6 July 2009, one British and two Canadian soldiers were killed in a crash in Zabul province. On 19 July 2009, a NATO transport helicopter crashed as it was attempting to take off from Kandahar International Airport, killing 16 civilians and injuring five. In eastern Afghanistan, several military personnel were injured when a U.S. military helicopter made an emergency landing in Kunar province. Only the crash of 14 July 2009 occurred as a result of enemy fire.
Two Fighter Jet Crashes
The fighter jet crash of 18 July 2009 involved a U.S. Air Force F-15. It crashed at 3:15 am Kabul time, in Nawur, Ghazni. Both of the American pilots were killed. The crash site was sealed off by coalition forces; Afghan police were denied access.
United States officials say that enemy fire was not a factor in this crash. A United States Air Force statement said, "We mourn the loss of these two airmen and our thoughts are with their families, loved ones and their unit."
The crash of Monday, 20 July 2009 involved a Royal Air Force Tornado GR4, as confirmed by the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence. The crash occurred at 7:20 am local time, as the jet was taking off from Kandahar Airfield. The wreckage burned for five hours. Both pilots ejected safely and sustained only minor injuries.