…As 19 people die in Taliban attacks in Afghanistan***
Natalia Fileva, chairperson and co-owner of Russia’s second largest airline S7, died when a private jet she was in crashed near Frankfurt, the company said.
Fileva, 55, was the major shareholder in S7, a member of global Oneworld airlines alliance, and one of the richest women in Russia, whose wealth was estimated by Forbes at 600 million dollars.
The Epic-Lt, a single-engine jet designed for private flights, crashed while landing at Egelsbach Airport, S7, also known as Siberia Airlines, said in a statement.
A police spokesman in the central German state of Hesse said a six-seater aircraft with two passengers and a pilot on board was en route from France when it came down near Egelsbach and caught fire.
The private jet was flying from Cannes in France and disappeared from radars at 1322 GMT, according to data from a flight tracker Flighradar24.
There was no immediate information on the other two people in the plane.
Russian and international authorities would investigate the crash and there was no information yet on what caused it, according to the airline, which is the main competitor of Russia’s No.1 carrier Aeroflot.
“The S7 Group holding team expresses deepest condolences to the family and significant others,” the company said.
S7 fleet consists of 96 aircraft that fly to 181 cities and towns in 26 countries, according to the company’s website.
In the meantime, no fewer than 19 security forces were killed in a series of Taliban attacks in the provinces Badghis and Sar-e Pul, officials said on Monday.
Taliban attacked army checkpoints in Bala Murghab district of the western province of Badghis.
At least 14 people were killed and five injured, provincial councillors Abdul Aziz Beig and Mohammad Nasir Nazari said.
Taliban militants control large parts of the district and have besieged the district centre for a month, with little effort from the government to recapture it, Beig said.
Government forces have lost their morale against the militants, he added.
In northern Sar-e Pul province, Taliban fighters overran a military base in Suzmah Qala district, killing five soldiers, provincial council chief Mohammad Noor Rahmani said.
Another five were injured and the Taliban took at least six soldiers hostage, according to the official.
Large parts of the province have been controlled by the Taliban for years, Rahmani said.
Earlier Vice-President Abdul Rasheed Dostum warned that Taliban attacks would intensify this year.
The militants continued to stage major attacks on security forces, despite being engaged in talks with the United States to find a political solution to the almost 20 years-long war that has ravaged the Central Asian nation.
The group’s military gains have won them considerable leverage in political talks, the peace advocacy organisation International Crisis Group says.