Pakistani delegation in Azra to negotiate crew release
PUL-I-ALAM (Pajhwok): A Pakistani delegation has arrived in central Logar province to negotiate the release of a helicopter crewmembers held hostage by Taliban militants after their helicopter crash landed in the Azra district, an official said on Wednesday.
The helicopter belonging to the Punjab government made an emergency landing on August 4 due to technical failures in Azra district.
A member of the provincial council and resident of Azra, Abdul Wali Wakeel, told Pajhwok Afghan News negotiations between an Afghan delegation and the Taliban over releasing the abducted Pakistani officials had stopped.
The Taliban councils in Peshawar and Quetta were putting pressure on the insurgents in Azra to hand over the hostages to the Pakistan government, he said.
He said the government of Pakistan sent a delegation on Tuesday to Azra district to hold face-to-face talks with the insurgents.
Wakeel said the delegation was comprised of some tribal elders from across the Durand Line, some Afghans living there and a military official and some other persons. He did not say where from he got this information.
Meanwhile, Azra district chief confirmed the arrival of the Pakistani delegation in the district.
He said the hostages issue had divided the insurgents into three groups and due to that dispute, the insurgents stopped talking with the Afghan delegation.
“Some Taliban insurgents say the Pakistanis be handed over to Afghan government, other want them handed over to Pakistan and while some more want the hostages released in exchange for the release of Taliban prisoners.”
However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it was unaware of a Pakistani delegation coming to Afghanistan.
A few days earlier, Pakistan Army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif asked President Ashraf Ghani and NATO forces commander in Afghanistan Gen. Nicholson for help in the recovery of the crew members and both assured him of providing needed support.
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