Helicopter crash: Govt to send delegation to Afghanistan


The government Friday decided to send a delegation to Afghanistan where the crew of Pakistan’s helicopter has been taken hostage by Taliban.

On Thursday, Punjab government’s MI-17 helicopter crash-landed in Taliban-held province of Logar close to the Afghan-Pakistan border and Pakistan’s Kurram tribal area.

The helicopter was being sent to Uzbekistan for overhauling when it crashed in Azra district, the official said.

Reports said all six people on board survived the crash but were taken hostage by Taliban militants who set the helicopter on fire.

All passengers and crew — including a Russian navigator – are feared to have been captured by Taliban militants.

Pakistan Army Spokesman Lt. General Asim Bajwa said Army Chief General Raheel Sharif had called the top U.S. Military Commander in Afghanistan, General John Nicolson, and was assured ‘all possible help’ to recover the helicopter crew.

He said Afghanistan government and ANA authorities have also been contacted for necessary assistance in the recovery of the crew members.

According to a foreign media agency, local district governor Hamidullah Hamid said six people on board had been taken hostage by the Taliban and transported to an unknown location.

The insurgents have not so far commented on the incident.

Delegation to Afghanistan

Sources said the government is contemplating to send a high-level delegation to Afghanistan to hold talks for the safe recovery of hostages.

“In this regard, modalities are being set by the government, authorities have not so far decided about names and a number of the delegation members,” according to the media.

Furthermore, the afghan government has contacted Taliban leaders after Pakistan’s request. “The first option is to recover the hostages through dialogue.”

There was no official comment from the Pakistan government. Prime Minister House is still noncommittal even 18 hours after the incident.