Taliban detain Turks in eastern Afghanistan

Afghanistan map

Taliban fighters have seized ten people from a civilian helicopter which made an emergency landing in eastern Afghanistan, including eight Turkish nationals, officials said on Monday.

The helicopter made an emergency landing in bad weather on Sunday evening, said Rais Khan Sadeq, the deputy police chief of Logar province, south of Kabul.

“Security forces found the helicopter but the nine people were not in it. They are taken by the Taliban,” Sadeq told the AFP news agency.

Eight of the people captured are Turks, along with one Russian and one Afghan, according to the helicopter company.

The aircraft had been chartered from Afghan-based Khorasan Cargo Airlines.

No Taliban comment

Hamidullah Hamid, governor of Azr district where the helicopter came down, also confirmed the Turks on board had been seized by the Taliban. Local tribal elders are reportedly working to secure their release.

Hamid said the aircraft, which had come from the eastern city of Khost and was heading for Kabul, belonged to a Turkish company which has a big project in Khost but gave no further details.

The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul said the force assisted a search by Afghan authorities for a helicopter, but gave no further details.

A spokesman said it was a civilian aircraft and not part of ISAF.

The Turkish embassy in Kabul was unavailable for comment. The Taliban have said that nine of the people detained were American soldiers in uniform, but ISAF denied that claim.

Turkey, one of only two Muslim-majority members of NATO, has around 1,800 soldiers serving with ISAF, but unlike its European allies, their mission is limited to patrols and its troops do not take part in combat operations.

Ankara has historically close ties with Kabul and last September Turkey extended by one year its command of the part of the ISAF force which covers the region around the Afghan capital.

Source: AFP

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