Taliban seize nine civilians after emergency helicopter landing
A Turkish civilian helicopter was forced to make an emergency landing in a Taliban-controlled area of eastern Afghanistan and, according to officials, nine people aboard are thought to have been taken hostage by insurgents in the area.
The helicopter, owned by Khorasan Cargo Airlines, made an emergency landing on Monday in a village in the Azra district of Logar province, in the southeast of Kabul only 20 miles from the Pakistan border. According to a Turkish foreign ministry spokesperson, Levant Gumruku, the helicopter was carrying “eight Turks, and two pilots a Russian and an Afghan”.
Although Gumruku stated that “the passengers and pilots were in good health”, officials in Logar province say that it is more likely that the group of nine are now in the hands of Taliban as the Azra district is known to be a local hub of Taliban activity.
Rais Khan Sadiq, a senior Logar deputy police chief, reported that he “first identified the craft owned by the Afghan contractor Khorasan cargo but did not know what kind of cargo the aircraft was carrying, and where it was headed, or whether it was working for NATO”.
NATO has confirmed that the aircraft went down on Sunday but the International Security Assistant Force (ISAF) did not have any further details.
The ISAF spokesperson, Erin Stattel said, “The coalition was assisting in the recovery of the aircraft but are yet to confirm whether the helicopter made a precautionary landing due to bad and windy weather or the Taliban had forced it down”.