Monday, April 22, 2013

Afghan Taliban say captured all on board of a crashed helicopter

Mostly Turks.
KABUL (Reuters) - The Taliban have captured all aboard a helicopter that crashed in a volatile region of Afghanistan's east, a spokesman for the insurgency said on Monday.

The helicopter, owned by air charter company Khorasan Cargo Airlines, made an emergency landing in Logar province late on Sunday due to bad weather, a Khorasan staff member said on condition of anonymity.

"Mujahideen immediately surrounded the chopper, detained (the) foreigners aboard and completely destroyed the helicopter ... by setting it alight," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in an emailed statement.

Onboard the Russian-made Mi-8 helicopter were eight Turkish engineers and at least one Russian pilot, according to Turkish and Russian officials. There was also at least one Afghan pilot aboard.

"The helicopter was carrying eight Turks, the pilots were Russian and Afghan. We believe they are in good health and Turkish officials are in contact with Afghan officials over the issue," Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Levent Gumrukcu said.