Chopper crew in Afghanistan taken hostage after crash landing

A Pakistani government helicopter was set on fire and its seven-member crew taken hostage after it crash landed in the Afghan province of Logar on Thursday, officials in both countries report.

The passenger helicopter was flying from the north-western Pakistani city of Peshawar to Russia, where it was due to undergo maintenance, Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spokesman Nafees Zakaria said.

Pakistani authorities sought prior permission from Afghan officials to use the latter's airspace, he added.

It was not clear what brought down the chopper in the south-eastern province in a Taliban-controlled area. All the survivors were captured by the militants, said Salim Saleh, spokesman for the governor of Logar.

The chopper belongs to the government of Punjab, the most populous central province of Pakistan, and all crew members are retired officers of the army aviation unit, a Punjab government official told dpa.

Pakistan government has initiated multi-layered efforts to rescue the crew, a security official said, expressing the hope they may be released within a couple of days.   

The Taliban militants have not yet provided a statement.

Last update: Thu, 04/08/2016 - 19:28
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