The government of Pakistan has confirmed the release of six crew members of a helicopter by the Afghan Taliban group.
“The six member crew of Punjab government helicopter that went missing in Afghanistan on 4th August 2016 has been recovered and arrived in Islamabad today,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan said.
The released crew members were identified as Capt Safdar Hussain (Chief pilot), Capt Safdar Ashraf, Capt Muhammad Shafiq-ur-Rehman (First Officer), Nasir Mahmood (Flt Engineer), Mr Muhammad Kausar (Crew Chief), and Sergei Sevastianov (Russian navigator).
The statement by Foreign Ministry of Pakistan further added “The crew was released in an inter-tribe exchange on the Pakistan -Afghan border in FATA. They were further transported from FATA to Islamabad by a helicopter.”
It also added that “All crew members are safe and in good health.”
The Mi-17 helicopter crash-landed in Azra district on Thursday afternoon equivalent to 4th August with preliminary reports suggesting at least 7 on board the helicopter were captured by the militants.
The Pakistani military officials confirmed the crash-landing of the helicopter and said it belonged to the Punjab federal government of Pakistan.
The authorities in Pakistan said the helicopter was on its way to Russsia for repair works when it crash-landed in the restive Logar province of Afghanistan.