Numerous news agencies located in the Middle East and Russia have made reports, which claim that a U.S. military plane carrying a high-ranking member of the CIA was shot down in Afghanistan.
According to Iran Front Page News, a jet designated for the U.S. Armed Forces crashed in a remote area of Afghanistan’s province of Ghazni within the Deh Yak district. The Iranian news source also claimed in its Tuesday (January 28) report that Taliban militants based in the Deh Yak area have taken responsibility for downing the U.S. military plane.
The Taliban fighters claimed to have brought down the U.S. Bombardier E-11A with anti-aircraft weaponry.
Iran Front Page News also reported that Russian intelligence officials have claimed that a senior agent with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was among the dead in the plane crash. However, Israel’s Jerusalem Post newspaper published a report stating that any information coming from Russia about this situation should be “met with skepticism.”
The CIA official who died in the plane crash has been identified as Michael D’Andrea, the Jerusalem Post reports. Underneath the billowing cloud of suspicion surrounding the coverage of this case, there are two things for certain. Someone is indeed dead and D’Andrea was very much involved in the planning of the recent U.S. drone strike operation, which killed Qasem Soleimani, a top-level Iranian military general.
“[The] assassin of Soleimani was on the plane and [was] killed in the crash. [D’Andrea] is the most prominent figure in the US CIA in the Middle East. He has been in charge of operations in Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan,” the Jerusalem Post report reads, which quotes Iran’s state-owned Tasnim News Agency.
D’Andrea has been known around global military and intelligence circles as a shadowy figure who went by the nicknames “Ayatollah Mike” and “The Prince of Darkness.” Israeli news sources credit D’Andrea with orchestrating the 2008 assassination of Imad Mughniyeh, the former Chief of Staff of the Lebanese Hezbollah militant group.
According to the Business Insider, the U.S. government or security apparatus has not confirmed or denied the death of D’Andrea in Afghanistan.