Taliban hold Pakistan chopper crew hostage in Afghanistan

A commander of the Tahrik-e-Taliban Pakistan says the crew are in "safe hands" of the local TTP commander, Adam Kochi, in neighboring Afghanistan’s Logar province.

August 05, 2016 07:56 pm | Updated December 04, 2021 11:01 pm IST - DERA ISMAIL KHAN (PAKISTAN):

The crew of a Pakistani helicopter that crashed in a lawless region of Afghanistan is being held by insurgents, an Afghan official and a Pakistani Taliban commander said on Friday.

The crash took place late on Thursday night and authorities on both sides of the border reported it, saying it had come down in territory controlled by insurgents. It was unclear why the helicopter strayed into Afghan territory.

Govt. has no control there

“The government has no control of the area” where the helicopter crashed and burst into flames. Qari Saifullah Saif, a commander of the Tahrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) as the Pakistani Taliban are known, said the crew are in “safe hands” of the local TTP commander, Adam Kochi, in neighboring Afghanistan’s Logar province.

The airmen had been taken to a “safe location” by the TTP to avoid any attacks by Afghan forces or the Afghan Taliban faction.

One pilot critically hurt

One of the pilots was critically injured in the crash, Saif said, adding that the crew allegedly also includes men from Pakistan’s secret service. While the Taliban were taking the crew captive, their positions were shelled by aircraft, which killed one and wounded two of their fighters, Saif also said.

Pakistani officials also said there were only six crewmembers on board after one backed out of the flight at the last minute. Pakistani army spokesman Lt. Gen. Asim Bajwa said the Russian-made chopper was being flown to Russia via Uzbekistan for maintenance.

The crew also included a Russian navigator while the rest are retired army officers serving on civilian aircraft.

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