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C-17 mishap closes Bagram base

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 1, 2009

A mishap involving a C-17 cargo plane has forced the U.S. military to close its key air base near Kabul, Afghanistan, "until further notice," officials said late Friday.

According to U.S. Forces Afghanistan, the C-17 landed at Bagram Airfield on Friday night without having its landing gear fully extended, "causing a small fire."

No injuries were reported in the incident, according to a short press release issued late Friday. An investigation team will be appointed to look into the incident.

As of Saturday, military officials had not released information on where the plane had been flying from, or to which unit the crew and aircraft belonged.

Bagram, north of Kabul, has long been the main U.S. air hub in Afghanistan. It is the largest U.S. base in Afghanistan, and around 20,000 international troops call Bagram home. During the Soviet war in Afghanistan, it was also a major Soviet base.

Since the invasion in 2001 to oust the Taliban, Bagram has undergone extensive construction and renovation work, including the building of the new runway. Estimates put its cost at around $68 million.

In October, a U.S. Navy reconnaissance plane was destroyed when it overshot the runway at Bagram while landing. One crewmember was injured in that incident, which involved a P-3 Orion.