Six-person Pakistan helicopter crew released in Afghanistan

By Daniel Uria  |  Aug. 13, 2016 at 10:35 AM
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ISLAMABAD, Aug. 13 (UPI) -- The crew of a helicopter that made an emergency landing in Afghanistan was released to Pakistan on Saturday.

According to Deutsche Welle, Five Pakistanis and a Russian were among the crew of six who were returned to Pakistan's capital city after reportedly being held hostage by the Taliban in Afghanistan for more than a week.

"The six member crew of the Punjab government helicopter that went missing in Afghanistan on August 4 has been released and arrived in Islamabad today," Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

The BBC reports the crew were transferred on the border between the two countries in an "inter-tribe exchange" and were said to be "in good health."

Pakistan's government did not confirm reports of Taliban involvement and the terms of the crew's release are unclear.

The Mi-17 helicopter belonging to the Punjab provincial government was traveling from Peshawar to Russia for maintenance before crashing in Afghanistan's Logar province.

Pakistani, Russian and Afghan governments all worked to free the crew and authorities reportedly made contact with tribal elders for potential negotiations.

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