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11 foreigners seized, helicopter set alight: Taliban

22 Apr 2013 - 14:30
22 Apr 2013 - 14:30

PUL-I-ALAM (PAN kidnapped six Turkish engineers and two foreign pilots after their helicopter made an emergency landing in central Logar province, an official said on Monday.

The NATO-contracted chopper made the emergency landing in the Mangal Pass area of Azra district late on Sunday night, the town’s administrative head said.

Hamidullah Hamid told Pajhwok Afghan News the copter was airlifting supplies for International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops based in southeastern Khost province.

He said the helicopter made the emergency landing on its way back to Kabul due to inclement weather. The insurgents seized the crew and pilots after the incident.

Hamid added the helicopter had not been damaged, with security forces having cordoned off the site. Tribal elders have launched efforts to recover the captives.

Meanwhile, the Taliban said the fighters immediately surrounded the chopper, set it alight and detained all 11 foreigners aboard and setting alight.

American military officers and two translators were captured alive before being transferred to a Taliban stronghold, the group’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said.

“The foreign forces, by disassociating themselves from the helicopter, are trying to suggest the detainees are civilians. But this denial will not benefit them as all were captured while wearing American military uniforms,” he added.

According to Reuters news agency, the helicopter is owned by the Khorasan Cargo Airlines. ISAF confirmed the incident, but gave no details.

mud

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