Afghan Taliban release crew of crashed Pakistani helicopter

Source: XinhuaEditor: Ouyang
2016-08-13 21:35

ISLAMABAD, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- Afghan Taliban have released six crew members, including a Russian national, of a Pakistani helicopter which crashed in Afghanistan last week, officials said on Saturday.

The helicopter, heading to Russia via Uzbekistan for repair, came down in eastern Logar province on Aug. 4. The Taliban, who had held the crew hostage, later handed over to tribal elders for their release.

"I can confirm that all crew members of the helicopter were freed on Saturday," a security official told Xinhua.

He said the crew members were handed over to a tribal "jirga" or council of elders in Kurram Tribal region which borders Afghanistan.

"The freed men have reached Islamabad and will rejoin families," the official said.

Sources in Kurram agency told Xinhua that Pakistani tribal elders had been involved in talks with the Afghan tribal elders to decide procedure for the release.

Pakistani leaders had been in touch with the Afghan government leaders and top commander of the foreign forces for the safe release of the hostages.

The Mi-17 transport helicopter made crash-landing in the mountainous Azra district of Logar province apparently due to technical problems.

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