Pakistani govt chopper crashes in Afghanistan, fate of passengers unknown

Islamabad: A Pakistani government helicopter crash-landed in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, officials said, without confirming reports six people on board were taken hostage by the Taliban.

"Six people were boarding it, but we are unaware of their fate," a senior government official based in Lahore told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The helicopter crashed in Azra district, in the restive province of Logar, then caught fire, said the provincial governor's spokesman Salim Saleh.

Earlier, 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.

Kabul has long accused Pakistan of supporting the Taliban and continuing to nurture sanctuaries on its soil in the hope of maintaining influence in Afghanistan.

A spokesman for Pakistani embassy in Kabul confirmed the crash, but would not say if the passengers had been kidnapped.

"An Mi-17 transport helicopter belonging to the Punjab government was scheduled to fly to Russia for repair. We think the same chopper crash-landed in Logar," Akhtar Munir told AFP.

"We don't know anything about the fate of those on-board or why it crash-landed."

There was no official comment from the Pakistani military or Afghan defence ministry officials.

Published Date: Aug 04, 2016 22:39 PM | Updated Date: Aug 04, 2016 22:39 PM

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