Numerous reports are coming in saying this morning, a United States B-52 Bomber aircraft was SHOT DOWN in the Washer district of Helmand Province near Shorab (SHAWRAB) Air Base. (UPDATE: PENTAGON DENIES)
Additional reports indicate the plane disintegrated in mid-air as it was falling, bursting into flames upon impacting the ground.
Other reports indicate all aboard the plane have been killed.
UPDATE 9:49 AM EDT --
Aircraft reportedly downed about 10km short of Shorab Air base.
The Taliban is now publicly claiming it shot down US B-52 Stratofortress strategic bomber while it was taking off from Shawrab airbase in Helmand province in southern Afghanistan.
“Mujaheddin of the Islamic Emirate targeted US B-52 bomber with heavy weapons today early morning in Lar area in Washir district of Helmand province, the bomber went down and all its crew were killed while smoke still rising from the crash site”, Taliban’s spokesman Qarri Muhammad Yousef Ahmad said.
UPDATE 10:00 AM EDT --
I spoke to Cmdr. Sean Robertson at the Pentagon moments ago and he provided the following statement:
"The Taliban claim is false. One of our unmanned aircraft experienced engine
failure early this morning and crashed in an open field in Lashhkar Gah,
Helmand. As a precautionary measure to protect Afghan civilians, the
remaining debris was destroyed."