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At least four survive after Russian jet - carrying six - crashes in Afghanistan

Fog laden west Kabul on January 19 (AFP via Getty Images)
Fog laden west Kabul on January 19 (AFP via Getty Images)

A Russian private jet carrying six people crashed in a remote area of rural Afghanistan.

The plane went down on Saturday in a mountainous area near Zebak district in Badakhshan province, regional spokesman Zabihullah Amiri said on Sunday.

Two Russian citizens were passengers on-board, it has been reported.

An update on Sunday afternoon stated that four of the six have survived and the fate of the other two is still being clarified.

A rescue team has been sent to the area - which is some 250 kilometres northeast of Afghanistan's capital, Kabul. The rural, mountainous area is home to only several thousand people.

In Moscow, Russian civil aviation authorities said a Dassault Falcon 10 plane went missing with four crew members and two passengers.

The Russian-registered aircraft "stopped communicating and disappeared from radar screens," authorities said. It described the flight as starting from Thailand's U-Tapao-Rayong-Pattaya International Airport.

The plane had been operating as a charter ambulance flight on a route from Gaya, India, to Tashkent, Uzbekistan, onward to Zhukovsky International Airport in Moscow.

Russian officials said the plane belongs to Athletic Group LLC and a private individual. They also said the Falcon 10 involved in the crash had been built in 1978.

A separate Taliban statement from Abdul Wahid Rayan, a spokesman for the Taliban's Information and Culture Ministry, described the plane as "belonging to a Moroccan company."

Indian civil aviation officials similarly described the aircraft as Moroccan-registered. The discrepancy could not be immediately reconciled.

Rayan blamed an "engine problem" for the crash, without elaborating.

International carriers have largely avoided Afghanistan since the Taliban's 2021 takeover of the country. Those that briefly fly over rush through Afghan airspace for only a few minutes while over the sparsely populated Wakhan Corridor in Badakhshan province, a narrow panhandle that juts out of the east of the country between Tajikistan and Pakistan, before continuing their way.

Typically, aircraft heading toward the corridor make a sharp turn north around Peshawar and follow the Pakistani border before briefly entering Afghanistan.