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Afghan Plane with More Than 100 People on Board Missing

Officials in Afghanistan are searching for a passenger plane carrying more than 100 people that disappeared after being turned away from Kabul airport Thursday evening due to bad weather.

Afghan officials say the Boeing 737 jet belongs to a private Afghan airline, Kam Air, and was flying from the western city of Herat to Kabul. They say a heavy snowstorm prevented the plane from landing at the Kabul airport.

Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Latfullah Mashal says that an hour after it was turned away from the Afghan capital, the plane contacted officials at the Peshawar airport in neighboring Pakistan. It requested landing permission but never arrived.

"So far the plane is missing. Afghan authorities and other relevant authorities are trying to find out what has happened to this plane," said Mr. Mashal.

The plane was carrying 96 passengers and eight crew; a few of the passengers and most of the crew appear to have been foreign citizens.

"The majority of them are Afghans because it was a domestic flight from Herat to Kabul," said Mr. Mashal. "But definitely some foreigners also use Kam Air."

Pakistani aviation officials say the plan never entered their airspace. A spokesman for the U.S.-led military coalition is reported as saying the aircraft has not landed at any airfields being used by the coalition forces in Afghanistan.

The region between Kabul and the Pakistan border is mountainous and sparsely populated, with poor communications. That could complicate efforts to find the plane if it crashed.