Taliban frees crew of crashed Pakistani helicopter

ISLAMABAD (TIP): The Afghan Taliban has freed the crew of a Pakistani helicopter that crash-landed in Afghanistan’s Logar province on August 4, Pakistani intelligence officials have said.

Six Pakistanis and a Russian pilot, who were captured by militants in a Taliban-controlled district, were handed over to authorities in Pakistan’s Kurram Agency on Friday, Radio Free Europe quoted the intelligence officials as saying.

The Punjab government Mi-17 helicopter was on its way to Russia via Uzbekistan for maintenance when it crashed in Afghanistan, the officials said.

According to Dawn online, the reports have not been confirmed by Pakistani officials.

Both Russian and Pakistani governments were making efforts for the release of the crew. The Afghan government also initiated an operation for their rescue.

The Foreign Office said earlier this week that the Afghan government was trying to secure their release with the help of tribal elders of the area.

Following the crash, Pakistani Army chief General Raheel Sharif had immediately called Commander Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan General Nicolson and asked him to help in the recovery of the crew. Gen Sharif also asked Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to help in organising a safe and early recovery of the crew. (IANS)

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