A Kazakhstan military plane has crashed near a southern city killing 27 people, mostly border guards.
The Central Asian country's Committee for National Security said the An-72 crashed Tuesday at 1255 GMT (7:55 a.m. EST) about 20 kilometers (12 miles) away from the city of Shymkent near the border with Uzbekistan.
It said in a web-posted statement that acting head of the ex-Soviet nation's border protection service Col. Turganbek Stambekov was aboard the plane. The fatalities included a crew of seven and 20 border guards.
Without specifying further details, it said that an investigation was opened into the crash.