PICTURED: Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. Photo credit: Veterans Today. All Rights Reserved.
GHAZNI, Afghanistan. January 27th, 2020. Veterans Today reports that the American E-11A recon plane that was shot down over Ghazni in Afghanistan on Monday where all aboard were killed included a high level CIA official named Michael D’andrea who according to Russian intelligence sources was the brains behind the recent assassination of Iranian Maj. General Qassem Soleimani.
10 hours after the plane was downed, the U.S. confirmed the loss of one Bombardier/Northrop Grumman E-11A aircraft in Afghanistan which suffered engine failure according sources of NPR. Air Force officials said they were investigating the crash but that no evidence had surfaced to suggest the plane was shot down.
While not claiming responsibility directly, official Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted: “It should be mentioned that a number of enemy aircrafts and helicopters have been downed by Mujahideen in Helmand, Balkh, and a number of other provinces of the country in recent days”.
On Monday, reporters from Ghanzni had reached the site and began reporting on it. A day later the U.S. confirmed that 2 individuals had died in the crash.
@pajhwok reporter Saifullah Maftoon visited the area in #Ghazni province, where an Aircraft crashed today, #Taliban said few US force officers were killed in this incident. #Afghanistan pic.twitter.com/vJ1fB2kspb
— Pajhwok Afghan News (@pajhwok) January 27, 2020
The Dark Prince
Known by several grim nicknames, such as “Ayatollah Mike,” “The Dark Prince,” and “The Undertaker” Michael D’andrea’s CV in the Middle-East includes a deep involvement with the CIA indefinite detention and torture programs post-9/11, playing a large role in the hunt for Osama bin-Laden, ramping up and managing Obama’s drone assassination program, while also developing the “signature strike” where individuals could be subject to targeted killings based on activity and data from devices rather than traditional evidence.
While his programs played an “instrumental role” in “impairing” al-Qaeda, they also expanded drone bombing campaigns into Pakistan in 2010, and Yemen. In 2015 one of D’andrea’s drones carried out a targeted strike on a military compound in Pakistan which killed an innocent American and an Italian hostage.
In 2017, President Trump appointed D’andrea to head all CIA programs on Iran, a move which the Times reported signified a move towards a “tougher stance”.
If the “Dark Prince” was indeed killed by the Taliban, it’s possible Iran was involved, as several different members of their military and executive have vowed revenge for the killing of their general.
One such individual is Brig. General Esmail Qaani who took command of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force after Soleimani’s death. According to Middle-East Monitor, Qaani has ties established in Afghanistan going back into the 1980s, and along with a history of anti-aircraft weaponry being supplied to the Taliban by Iran, the Fatimyoun Shia forces in Afghanistan are trained by the IRGC.
Another Iranian official, General Hossein Salami said that no U.S. military commander would be safe if the U.S. continues to threaten Iran’s officials, referring to threats made by U.S. Special Representative for Iran, Brian Hook, that Qaani would “meet the same fate” if he continues along Soleimani’s path of “killing Americans”.
“I mean if they threaten our commanders with [an act of terror] or implement their threat, the lives of none of their commanders would be safe,” said Salami.
If Iran could exact revenge on D’andrea all the way in Afghanistan, it’s a statement about the danger inherent in the escalating tensions between the United States and Iran, who could possess a far greater ability to hurt United States forces and personnel abroad than perhaps Trump may have supposed.
Continue exploring this topic — U.S. Threatens Another Iranian General With Assassination While Congress Tries to Determine Soleimani Legality
*Editor’s Note: After publishing, World at Large found that Zabihullah Mujahid merely stated the plane had gone down, and not that the Taliban were responsible for causing it to do so.