Taliban Captures Civilians in Downed Chopper

Apr 22, 2013 8:18am

KABUL, Afghanistan – A civilian helicopter made an emergency landing in volatile eastern Afghanistan and insurgents have taken its crew and passengers captive, according to Afghan officials.

The aircraft was flying over Logar province close to the Pakistan border when it forced to land during a heavy storm on Sunday night in a district controlled by the Taliban. All those on board were quickly detained, then taken by insurgents to a mountain hideout, according to a Hamidullah Hamid, a spokesperson for the provincial governor. Afghan officials say tribal elders, who hold considerable influence in local Afghan villages, are negotiating for their release.

A NATO spokesperson confirmed the incident, but was unable to disclose the nationalities of those on board, saying only that coalition forces were working to recover the aircraft. Hamid initially said there were Americans, Turks, and Afghans on board, though local officials now say the Americans were in fact Uzbeks. It’s unclear how many people were on board

An official from Khorasan Cargo company who doesn’t want to be named told me. He said there are 10 persons in total, including one Afghan, two Russians and  seven Turks.  The Turks are employed by the ENKA Company, while the Afghan and Russians work for the Khorasan Company.

According to the official, the chopper’s passengers were back on their way from Khost to Kabul, but because of the bad weather they made an emergency landing in Azrah District of Logar. The Khorasan Argo Airlines could not make any contact with them so for and the phone of all the crew are switched off.

It’s unknown what cargo, if any, it was carrying.

ABC News’ Aleem Agha contributed to this report

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