Russian Pilot Captured by Taliban, Confirms Embassy

MOSCOW, April 22 (RIA Novosti) – A Russian pilot was among the crew and passengers on an Mi-8 helicopter that made an emergency landing in Afghanistan’s Logar province and were seized by the Taliban radical Islamist group, the Russian embassy in Kabul said Monday.

“There was one, not two [Russians aboard the helicopter]. We cannot confirm there were two. But we will find out,” a Russian diplomat said.

Anatolia news agency reported on Sunday that a helicopter carrying a group of foreign engineers working for Khorasan Logistics had to make a forced landing on Sunday evening in the Azra district of Logar province in eastern Afghanistan. The helicopter was flying from the city of Khost to the capital Kabul, according to Azra district governor Hamidullah Hamid, AFP reported.

Reports said the helicopter’s crew and passengers were abducted by Taliban gunmen.

Rais Khan Sadeq, deputy police chief of Logar province, told AFP the helicopter’s passengers and crew, including eight Turks and an Afghan national, were seized by the Taliban.

A source in Afghanistan-based air company Khorasan Cargo Airlines told RIA Novosti the helicopter was operated by a Russian national, Pavel Petrenko.

Khorasan has a fleet of five Mi-8 and three Mi-17 helicopters and one An-26 aircraft.


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