ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN, JUNE 11 -- Radio Kabul reported today that Afghan guerrillas firing a U.S.-made Stinger missile shot down an Afghan passenger plane, killing 53 of the 55 people on board.

The Afghan state radio, monitored in Islamabad, quoted government officials as saying the Soviet-built Antonov-26 plane was shot down as it flew over Afghanistan's southwestern province of Zabul. The radio report did not say when the twin-engine plane was downed.

Afghan guerrilla groups, whose communications with units inside Afghanistan often take several days, did not immediately claim having shot down the plane. {A statement issued in Pakistan by the Hezb-i-Islami, led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar said it downed a four-engine military transport plane on June 2 in Kandahar province, killing or injuring all of the Afghan Army officers on board, United Press International reported.}

The Antonov, which was flying to Kabul, was hit by "a Stinger missile made in the United States of America," said a statement by the Afghan Foreign Ministry broadcast by the radio. The radio said a missile hit the plane as it flew over Shah Guii, 50 miles northeast of the provincial capital, Qalat. That appeared to place the site more than 50 miles from the Afghan-Pakistani border.

{Afghan state radio said two other civilian planes were shot down near Khost, close to Afghanistan's eastern border, UPI reported, saying there were no further details.

{The broadcast also said that Afghan guerrillas had assassinated the senior Afghan military officer in Kandahar Province, in the south. A spokesman in Pakistan for the Hezb-i-Islami said the group had killed the officer, Lt. Gen. Abdul Qayum Siddique, on Wednesday, UPI reported.}

Afghan guerrillas shot down one transport in February, saying it carried soldiers, and Pakistani jets downed an Antonov-26 in March, saying it had violated Pakistani air space and had resisted interception. As in today's report, Kabul said those downed planes carried civilians.

The Afghan government frequently uses Antonov-26 planes to transport military personnel and carry out surveillance missions, western diplomats in Islamabad said. {The Kabul radio report described the downed plane as belonging to the state's domestic airline, but did not say whether the plane bore civilian or military markings, news agencies reported.}

The Antonov-26 model, a short-range transport, normally carries about 40 passengers and a crew of five. The Kabul radio report today said the dead in the attack included 16 children and 10 women.

The Afghan guerrillas, or mujaheddin, have been fighting communist rule since it began with a 1978 military coup. Soviet troops invaded to support the communists in 1979, and about 115,000 troops remain, according to western estimates.

The Radio Kabul broadcast also said that "it is not for the first time that such a plane has been hit, since the United States started providing Stingers to the guerrilla gangs." Several Afghan guerrilla leaders have reported receiving Stingers, but the United States has never confirmed supplying the missiles.

{In Washington, a State Department official said the United States had no news of the attack beyond the Afghan radio report.}