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Gen Raheel phones Afghan president on copter crash

RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif Friday phoned Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to and asked him to help in safe and early recovery of crew members of Punjab government’s helicopter that crash-landed in Taliban-held province of the neighboring country yesterday.

“President Ghani assured him all possible assistance in this regard,” Says ISPR.

Sources said the government has decided to send a delegation to Afghanistan.

On Thursday, Punjab government’s Mi-17 helicopter crash-landed in Taliban-held province of Logar close to the Afghan-Pakistan border and Pakistan’s Kurram tribal area.

The helicopter was being sent to Uzbekistan for overhauling when it crashed in Azra district, official said.

Reports said all six people onboard survived the crash but were taken hostage by Taliban militants who set the helicopter on fire.

All passengers and crew — including a Russian navigator – are feared to have been captured by Taliban militants.

Pakistan Army spokesman Lt. General Asim Bajwa said Army Chief General Raheel Sharif had called the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, General John Nicolson, and was assured “all possible help” to recover the helicopter crew.

He said Afghanistan government and ANA authorities have also been contacted for necessary assistance in recovery of the crew members.

According to AFP, local district governor Hamidullah Hamid said six people on board had been taken hostage by the Taliban and transported to an unknown location.