Taliban hand over bodies of 4 soldiers to ICRC
MAIMANA (Pajhwok): Taliban have handed over the bodies of four soldiers to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in northern Faryab province, an official said on Wednesday.
The four soldiers were killed during a firefight with Taliban militants after their helicopter crash-landed in Pashtunkot district near Maimana, the provincial capital, in late November.
The Taliban are still holding about 18 soldiers hostage amid an ongoing operation by the Afghan army to rescue them.
The 21 people on board included two Moldovan pilots and a Moldovan engineer, the country’s acting prime minister Gheorghe Brega had told reporters in Chisinau.
The Mi-17 was privately owned by the Valan ICC company in Moldova, according to Brega, and had been chartered by the Afghan army.
The Taliban in a statement on their website had said they shot the helicopter down.
Maj. Reza Rezaee, the spokesman for the 209th Shaheen Corps in Faryab, told Pajhwok Afghan News the Taliban had handed over the bodies of four soldiers to ICRC officials in the area where the clash occurred.
He said ICRC officials would dispatch the bodies to their hometowns in different provinces. He said security forces were still trying to rescue the hostages. The Taliban had claimed shifting the captives to an area under their control.
Gen. Sakhi Dad, a commander of the 209th Shaheen Military Corps, had said efforts were still underway to secure safe release of the service members.
He said they had provided the details of efforts for the release of the hostages to higher-ups and it was up to Kabul how it could make possible the soldiers’ rescue.
The helicopter was carrying the Afghan soldiers from Maza-i-Sharif, the capital of northern Balkh province, to the Maimana airport on Nov 24 when it made an emergency landing and came under attack from local militants.
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