Aug 13 (NIA) – The Pakistan government, on Saturday, announced that the six member crew who were held hostage by the Taliban when their helicopter crash landed in Afghanistan on Aug 4, had been released.
The Pakistan Foreign Ministry, in a statement said that the crew was released in an inter-tribe exchange on the Pakistan -Afghan border in FATA. They were further transported from FATA to Islamabad by a helicopter.
“All crew members are safe and in good health,” the Foreign office said.
The crew included five Pakistanis and a Russian.
Local media reports said that both Russian and Pakistani governments had been making efforts for the release of the hostages. The Afghan government also initiated an operation for identification of the captors and rescue of the hostages.
The Pakistan Foreign Office said earlier this week that the Afghan government was trying to secure their release with the help of elders of the area.
Pakistan had also sought help from the US to ensure the safe return of the crew after their helicopter crash-landed in a lawless region of Afghanistan and were being held by the Taliban.
The MI-17 helicopter owned by Punjab provincial government was on its way to Russia for routine maintenance when it was forced to make a crash-landing in Logar on Aug 6, a province with large areas under Taliban control.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in a statement had soon after said that his government was profoundly concerned about the safety of the whole team that was travelling on the helicopter and would do everything possible to secure their release.
The Russian-made MI-17 transport helicopter had permission to fly over Afghan airspace on its way to Uzbekistan further north.
A senior Pakistani military official also said the helicopter was en route from Peshawar in northwest Pakistan to Uzbekistan for maintenance when it experienced technical failure and made an emergency landing.