The Associated Press July 9, 2011, 6:56AM ET

Azerbaijan halts flights to Afghanistan

An Azerbaijani airline company says it has halted all flights to Afghanistan after one of its cargo planes crashed in Afghanistan's east.

The Russian-designed Ilyushin-76 plane flying from Baku and owned by the Silk Way airline company burst into flames after hitting a remote mountaintop on Tuesday. The nine-member crew was killed.

Silk Way's president Zaur Akhundov told reporters on Saturday that the company has suspended all flights to Afghanistan pending the investigation into the crash.

Aircraft are used extensively in Afghanistan by both NATO and Afghan government forces to transport and supply troops. Silk Way used to send cargo planes to Afghanistan five times a day.

Ikham Amirov, who is heading the crash investigation, said the cause of the crash has not been established.

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