Gen. Sharif’s son-in-law among Taliban-held hostages
PUL-I-ALAM (Pajhwok): A son-in-law of Gen. Raheel Sharif, Pakistan’s chief of army staff, is among helicopter crew members taken hostage by Taliban in central Logar province, an official said on Saturday.
Pakistan’s MI-17 helicopter crashed in the Azra district of Logar on last Thursday when the insurgents took the crew, including former Pakistan military officers and a Russian, hostage.
Abdul Wali Wakil, a provincial council member and resident of Azra, told Pajhwok Afghan News the Taliban, during a meeting Saturday morning, assured local elders of hostages’ security.
He said Sharif’s son-in-law, Major Sardar, was also among the detainees. The helicopter did not crash-land but it came down voluntary, the public representative explained.
The crewmembers had been seized with hundred thousands of dollars, rupees, weapons, satellite telephones and a GPS device, Wakil added.
He said a list of senior Afghan officials had also been found with the hostages. “I received this information from local tribal elders after they met the Taliban,” the council member continued.
Pakistani officials have directly contacted the Taliban over the release of the crew, he claimed, without giving details.
Azra district chief, Hamidullah Hamid, said the hostages were alive and healthy. “The Taliban are holding the crew captive to protect them from Afghan forces, he said.
Two of them were held captive kept by Taliban commander Mullah Sherin, two others by Mullah Wali and as many by another commander,” he disclosed. Hamid also said Pakistan had contacted the Taliban.
“Taliban’s shadow governor for Logar, Mullah Najib and their military commander had entered Azra district for discussing the issue with local rebel leaders,” he said.
But Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said he was unaware of the incident due to the absence of telephone services in Azra district.
A day earlier, Pakistan Army chief Sharif called Commander of Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan Gen. Nicolson and asked him to help recover the helicopter crew.Nicolson assured him of all possible help.
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