Pilot dead as F18 military plane crashes near Madrid

Two soldiers walk past the wreckage of a crashed Eurofighter plane near a military base at Albacete, 300 kilometers (180 miles) southeast of Madrid on October 12, 2017. (File photo by AFP)
Updated 17 October 2017
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Pilot dead as F18 military plane crashes near Madrid

MADRID: An F18 fighter jet crashed on takeoff at a military base near Madrid on Tuesday, killing the pilot — the second time a military plane has come down in Spain in a week.
“The pilot of the airplane has died as a consequence of the accident, which happened during take-off,” the Spanish defense ministry said in a tweet following the crash near the Torrejon de Ardoz base, around 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Madrid.
“Rescue teams are on their way to the scene of the accident,” a ministry spokesman told AFP, adding that the cause of the crash was as yet unknown.
The accident came just days after the pilot of a Eurofighter jet was killed Thursday on the approach to landing at a military base at Albacete, 300 kilometers southeast of the capital.
The jet had been taking part in a military display for Spain’s national day.
Two other Eurofighter jets crashed in Spain in 2010 and 2014, both times killing the pilot.


Afghan leaders ‘optimistic’ over Taliban peace talks

Updated 24 June 2018
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Afghan leaders ‘optimistic’ over Taliban peace talks

  • The Taliban last week rejected Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s offer to extend the truce, but a government spokesman said on Saturday that the government was optimistic the militants were willing to engage in peace talks.
  • After ending the truce, the Taliban said its attacks against foreign troops and Afghans supporting them would continue.

KABUL: The Afghan government is confident of holding peace talks with Taliban militants despite a recent surge of attacks by insurgents, a palace spokesman said.

Shah Hussain Murtazawi said the announcement last week of a brief truce by the Taliban over Eid, the increasing movement of extremists and some field commanders to government-held areas, and a call for peace by the Imam of Makkah and the Saudi monarch were the basis of the government’s optimism.

The Taliban last week rejected Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s offer to extend the truce, but Murtazawi said on Saturday that the government was optimistic the militants were willing to engage in peace talks.

“A new chapter has been opened and the broad support for a cease-fire and an end to the war are the causes for our optimism,” he told Arab News.

“The fact that Taliban announced a truce and their commanders came into towns and celebrated Eid with government officials are positive signs that the extremists will be ready for talks with the government.”

However, no contact has been established with leaders of the group since the militants called off their truce, Murtazawi said.

After ending the truce, the Taliban said its attacks against foreign troops and Afghans supporting them would continue. Scores of Afghan troops have been killed in a spate of attacks, including assaults on military bases where the insurgents joined government forces to celebrate Eid.

Some tribal chiefs and local officials are calling for “safe zones” where extremists can hold initial talks with the government, according to a local official who refused to be named.