KABUL, Afghanistan — The wreckage of an Afghan passenger plane missing since Monday has been found in rugged mountain terrain with no sign of survivors, officials said Thursday.
There were 44 people aboard the Antonov-24 twin turboprop, including an American and three Britons. The flight, operated by private Pamir Airways, crashed on a domestic run from the northern city of Kunduz to the capital, Kabul.
NATO’s International Security Assistance Force, which helped with the search, said it would aid the Afghan security forces in recovery efforts. Because of the location of the crash site — jagged, snowy peaks at an altitude of 13,500 feet — that task will be difficult.
The Western military said that what was suspected to be the flight’s wreckage had first been spotted late Wednesday. On Thursday, searchers were able to confirm the sighting of the tail section, with Pamir’s blue logo visible. Searchers on the ground have not been able to reach the site.
Afghan’s private airlines, which have mainly sprung up in the last decade, have fleets that mix newer planes with aging Soviet-era aircraft like the Antonov. Standards of maintenance are not always rigorously enforced, and the weather was bad on the day the flight disappeared, with fog and snow squalls in the towering Hindu Kush.
The crash site is about 25 miles north of the Afghan capital, in the Shakar Darah district of Kabul province, authorities said.
Afghanistan’s last major commercial crash took place in February 2005, when a flight operated by the private carrier Kam Air crashed on approach to Kabul in a snowstorm, killing 104 people aboard.