Afghan troop plane crashes in Pakistan, all aboard reported dead

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) — An Afghan cargo plane carrying as many as 90 fighters from the Taliban religious militia slammed into a mountain Tuesday in southwestern Pakistan, killing everyone aboard, a news agency reported.
The aircraft, which had left the southeastern Afghan city of Kandahar, apparently strayed off course because of bad weather that included heavy fog and light rain, the Associated Press of Pakistan reported.
The Russian-made aircraft, which had been refitted to carry passengers, had tried to land in Herat, 150 miles west of Kandahar, but had to turn back because of the weather, the APP reported.
The pilot apparently was trying to return to Kandahar when he strayed off course. The aircraft crossed into Pakistan and hit a mountain near Khojak, a very remote area at least 180 miles northeast of Kandahar.
At least 90 people were on board, and all were believed to be Taliban fighters from the religious army’s headquarters in southern Afghanistan.
It’s not clear why the pilot had strayed so far off course. The Taliban army controls the entire southern half of Afghanistan, giving the plane no reason to change its route to avoid enemy fire.
The religious Taliban militia uses Kandahar as a base to send fresh troops to its front lines via refitted cargo planes, and the troop movements usually take place at night.
Because none of Afghanistan’s airports have a working radar system, all landings are done visually.