A plane departing from Afghanistan’s Bagram Air Base was asked to land in Iran, according to The Washington Post. The plane, a coalition-chartered flight operated by UAE-based carrier FlyDubai, is carrying “approximately 100 Americans and possibly a pair of Canadians.”
The plane followed an incorrect flight path and needed to refuel in order to correct its route, according to the Post. It requested to land in Bandar Abbas, an Iranian city on Straight of Hormuz approximately 900 miles to the southwest of Bagram.
A senior State Department official said the plane was re-routed because of a “bureaucratic issue.” The issue has been resolved, the official said, and the plane should be able to take off again soon.
“A Fly Dubai charter plane flying from Bagram Air Field to Dubai was re-routed to Bandar Abbas, Iran because of a bureaucratic issue today,” the official said. “Contrary to press reports, this plane was not forced down by the Iranian military. The issue appears to have been resolved and hopefully the plane will be able to take off soon.”
Iran has jealously guarded its airspace from potential U.S. incursions in the past: in 2013, there was a brief standoff between U.S. and Iranian fighter jets when Iranian planes came within 16 miles of an American surveillance drone operating over international waters in the Persian Gulf. The U.S. supports its mission in Afghanistan from bases in neighbouring Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, ensuring that U.S. aicraft do not have to cross into Iranian airspace.
The grounded plane is a coalition charter of a private carrier — and not an official U.S. government aircraft.
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