Pak helicopter crash-lands in Afghanistan, crew taken hostage by Taliban

Islamabad, Aug.5 : A helicopter of Pakistan's Punjab province government crash-landed in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, following which the Taliban insurgents took the crew hostage before setting the helicopter on fire.

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

The Mi-17 transport helicopter crashed in Azra district, in the restive province of Logar province. A spokesman for Logar province's governor confirmed that the helicopter crashed in the Mati area of Azra district.

Following the incident, Army Chief General Raheel Sharif called Commander Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan General Nicolson and asked him to help in the recovery of the helicopter crew.

"Gen Nicolson has assured all possible help in this regard," Dawn quoted Pakistan military's spokesperson, Lieutenant General Asim Bajwa as saying.

Bajwa confirmed that seven people were on board the helicopter including retired military officers and a Russian navigator.

However, there arise conflicting reports on how the helicopter caught fire. While some eyewitnesses reportedly said that the helicopter appeared to have caught fire during landing while some residents said the Taliban set it on fire.

Meanwhile, all seven crew members survived the crash. Six members of the Punjab government and a Russian engineer were on board. The Pakistan Foreign Office is now trying to contact Afghan officials to get more information on the incident.

So far, the Taliban militant group has r not commented on the incident..

Source: ANI