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U.S. military officials in Kyrgyzstan are saying little about a report from that country’s government blaming the U.S. Air Force for a September incident in which a Kyrgyz passenger jet clipped a military refueling tanker.

On Tuesday, the Kyrgyz transport minister said a government commission has concluded that the “blame for the incident at the Manas International Airport rests with the crew of the American plane,” according to news reports. “The Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry is currently negotiating compensation for damages inflicted on the country by the actions of the American crew.”

U.S. military officials at Ganci Air Base — which shares space with the commercial airport and is a support hub for troops in Afghanistan — did not reply to questions about the report sent by Stars and Stripes and did not return calls placed by The Associated Press, the AP reported.

The incident occurred on Sept. 26, when a Kyrgyz Airlines TU-154 with 70 passengers and crew on board struck a parked KC-135 tanker plane. The TU-154 was taking off at the time, and both aircraft sustained wing damage. The passenger jet was able to perform an emergency landing, and no injuries were reported.

A fire destroyed one of the KC-135’s engines and badly damaged a wing. At the time of the incident, public affairs officers said only that emergency crews had responded to a fire.

The Kyrgyz transport minister, Nurlan Sulaimanov, said the incident was caused by darkness and because the American jet was parked in the wrong spot on an uneven runway. The passenger jet was bound for Moscow and was the Kyrgyz presidential plane, sometimes used for commercial flights, officials have said.

A Russian news agency quoted the head of Kyrgyzstan’s civil aviation department as saying the September incident was the third involving U.S. military aircraft since 2001; details on the other incidents were not immediately available.


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