The crew of the Apache helicopters spotted the tail end of the Boeing 737 plane and other debris strewn across snow-covered mountains above the village of Band-e Ghazi, some 19 miles south-east of Kabul, Nato-led peacekeepers said. "There are no survivors from the crash," an Afghan Defence Ministry spokesman said.
But an Afghan military helicopter was later unable to land as snow and fog covered the crash site, making the mountainous area look like an almost featureless white landscape.
The aircraft, operated by the private Afghan airline Kam Air, disappeared off radar screens three minutes after failing to land at Kabul airport.
The flight, with 96 passengers and eight crew, was travelling from the western city of Herat, a busy route for Afghan businessmen and foreign aid workers returning to Kabul. Four Americans, an Italian naval captain and an Iranian working for a non-governmental organisation are among the dead.
Kam Air opened as Afghanistan's only private airline in November 2003. It flies leased aircraft between Kabul, Dubai and Istanbul and operates several domestic routes.Reuse content