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Pakistani helicopter crashes in Logar, Taliban capture crew

Pakistani helicopter crashes in Logar, Taliban capture crew

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On
Aug 04, 2016 - 15:29

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): A Pakistani helicopter crash landed in the Azra district of central Logar province on Thursday afternoon and Talibaninfo-icon militants held those onboard hostage, officials said.

Salim Saleh, the governor’s spokesman, confirmed the copter belonged to Pakistaninfo-icon and the people onboard were Pakistanis who spoke Urdu language. The wreckage and signs on parts of the copter suggested it belonged to Islamabad, he added.

Earlier, Hamidullah Hamid, the town’s administrative chief, told Pajhwok Afghan News a helicopter made a hard landing in Obakhti locality, 40km southeast of the district centre, and six people onboard had been captured by the Taliban.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said it was early to confirm the Taliban had taken hostage the copter crew.

Earlier, NATOinfo-icon and Afghan defence ministry said the helicopter that crashed in Logar province did not belong to them. 

Ministry of Defence spokesman Maj. Gen. Dawlat Waziri told Pajhwok Afghan News the helicopter that crashed in Logar did not belong to the Afghan army.

“It was a private company’s helicopter and it does not belong to the national army,” he said.

NATO media office in Kabul also said no coalition helicopter had crashed in Afghanistantoday.

Azra is an insecure district, its main road connecting it with Pul-i-Alam, the provincial capital, has been closed by Taliban over the past 14 years.

The Azra district chief said four of the six people on the helicopter spoke Urdu and all the six had been captured by Taliban militants.

But press attaché at the Pakistan Embassy in Kabul, Akhtar Munir, told Pajhwok Afghan News Pakistan was planning to take a MI-17 helicopter to Russia for repair and the Afghan government had been informed about the plan.

He said it was possible the same helicopter had crashed.

Meanwhile, Dawn.com reported that a Punjab government Mi-17 helicopter crash landed on Thursday in Logar province where Taliban insurgents took the crew hostage before setting the helicopter on fire.

DawnNews reported the helicopter had seven people onboard at the time of the incident, and was on its way for maintenance to Uzbekistan.

It said all seven crew members survived the crash. Six members of the Punjab government and a Russian engineer were on board the helicopter.

Pakistan Foreign Office is trying to contact Afghan officials to get more information on the incident.

nh/ma

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