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U.S. Fighter Jet Crashes In Afghanistan; Two Dead

KABUL (Reuters) -- A U.S. F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jet has crashed in eastern Afghanistan, the U.S. Air Force said, and a military source said both crew members on board were killed.

The Air Force said in a statement that the crash, which took place at 3:15 a.m. local time (2245 GMT on July 17), was not due to hostile action.

"There is an active investigation going on at the site at this time," Air Force spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Reid Christopherson said by telephone from Qatar, the main base of U.S. air operations in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Christopherson declined to discuss the status of the crew members, but a military source in Kabul confirmed they had been killed.

The source asked not to be identified pending the Air Force's official announcement of the deaths.

The Strike Eagle is a variant of the F-15 supersonic jet designed to strike ground targets and provide close air support for infantry.

It has been deployed widely in both Afghanistan and Iraq.