The aircraft that was originally believed to belong to Ariana Afghan Airlines is now widely believed to be a E-11 BACN operated by the USAF with four assigned to the 430th Expeditionary Electronic Combat Squadron usually operating from Kandahar Airbase in the South East of the country.
The E-11 BACN which stands for Battlefield Airbourne Communication Node is a converted Bombardier Global Express. This aircraft is operated by multiple militaries in different roles including Germany in a VIP Configuration, the UK’s RAF as the Sentinel R1 and the USAF as the E-11. The E-11 allows real time communications relay beyond line of sight as well as similar and dissimilar tactical data link. This allows interoperability of different systems without upgrades. For example, a USAF F-15 can share targeting data with a US Navy F/A-18 but not with a B-52. Additionally it can connect JTAC’s embedded with troops in a non-line of sight environment like the rugged mountainous terrain of afghanistan.
The aircraft came down in the Taliban-controlled area of Dih Yak, Ghazni with the rear section and engines reported mainly intact while the rest of the fuselage including the cockpit seems to have been set alight following the crash.
The USAF roundels are clearly visible on the engines along with serial 11-9358 on the vertical stabiliser.
Here is a link to video of the aircraft post crash. You can make out the USAF roundel and the stripes usually worn by this aircraft.
No mention has been made yet of the aircrew although i would expect as is standard the deployment of Search and Rescue aircraft as well as possibly a Quick Reaction Force to secure the area.
Neither the US or Taliban have made any statement regarding the crash as of current.
Here is a good article showing previous use of the aircraft over afghanistan:
On the topic of why it was flying there when most US assets have been withdrawn or moved to a training role, US Special Forces still operate in the region along with Air Assets to support the Afghan Armed Forces.
I’ll continue to update as more information is available.
Points to note from the BBC reporting on the crash.
US Army Maj Beth Riordan, a spokeswoman for US Central Command, told Associated Press news agency that it remained unclear whose aircraft was involved in the crash.
Ghazni police commander Ahmed Khalid Wardak told the BBC that there was no information about casualties, and that it was unclear what had caused the plane to crash. He added that the aircraft had been set on fire.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told the BBC that his group had not yet located the aircraft.