Taliban shift helicopter hostages to Hesarak
JALALABAD (PAN): The foreigners seized by militants in central Logar province have been shifted to the Hesarak district of eastern Nangarhar province, an official said on Tuesday.
On Sunday night, the Taliban kidnapped 11 foreigners, including Turkish engineers, after their helicopter made an emergency landing in the Mangal Pass area of Azra district. The NATO-contracted chopper was on its way to Kabul from Khost.
Hesarak district chief, Abdul Khaliq Maroof told Pajhwok Afghan News he had received information regarding the hostages’ transfer to the town on Monday night. The captives were being held in Aab-i-Zangyani area, he said.
Efforts were underway to rescue the abducted foreigners, Maroof said, suggesting the insurgents might set conditions for their release. “I have a strategy for their release. Those trying to rescue the crew should contact me,” he added without elaborating.
An intelligence source, meanwhile, revealed to Pajhwok the captors had concealed the equipment seized from the Turkish engineers in a house located in the Tang Pass area between Azra and Hesarak districts.
But the Logar governor’s spokesman, Din Mohammad Darwesh, denied the crew’s transfer to Hesarak. Talks were ongoing between local elders and the Taliban, he said, hoping the hostages could be released soon.
Dr. Abdul Wali Wakil, the Logar provincial council deputy head, also confirmed negotiations between elders and the militants.
He said the elders had delivered medicine to the abductors for the captives, including eight Turkish engineers, an Afghan and two pilots from Russia and Kyrgyzstan.
The helicopter is owned by the Khorasan Cargo Airlines, which flies Russian Mi-8 and Mi-17 choppers as well as fixed-wing aircraft.
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