Pakistan seeks help from Afghanistan in safe recovery of crew
The Afghan President has assured COAS of his government’s full support in this regard; Director General Inter Services Public Relations Lt-Gen Asim Saleem tweeted.
#COAS called Afghan President Ashraf Ghani today and asked him to help in safe and early recovery of crew members of Punjab govt heli….-1
— Gen Asim Bajwa (@AsimBajwaISPR) August 5, 2016
that crash landed in Logar province of Afgn yesterday.Afghan President Ashraf Ghani assured all possible assistance in this regard-2 — Gen Asim Bajwa (@AsimBajwaISPR) August 5, 2016
“We have launched an investigation into the incident…and the government has instructed security forces to spare no efforts to secure the release of the crewmembers,” the Afghan defence ministry said in a statement.
Yesterday, the ISPR official had informed media through another tweet that General Raheel had also called General John Nicholson, the Resolute Support Mission’s commander, soon after the incident happened.
“COAS called Gen Nicholson, Commander RSM in Afghanistan, asked him to help in the recovery of the crew of Punjab government helicopter that crash-landed in Logar province,” Bajwa tweeted. “Gen Nicholson assured [Gen Raheel] of all possible help in this regard.”
He continued to add that the Afghan government and ANA officials had been contacted for their assistance in recovering the crewmembers.
Backchannel coordination intensifies
Sources confirmed reports later on Friday that the captive crew members of the Punjab government’s MI-17 helicopter that crash- landed in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday were safe; however, Taliban would make a final decision about their fate.
When the helicopter was on its way to Russia via Uzbekistan for maintenance it crashed in Azra district, in the restive Afghan province of Logar, a Pakistani official said.
The seven-member crew of the helicopter included a Russian navigator and six Pakistani officials who, as per independent reports and local district governor Hamidullah Hamid, was taken hostage by the Taliban and transported to an unknown location.
What we know:
- MI-17 helicopter crash-landed in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday
- It crashed in Azra district of the restive Afghan province of Logar
- Helicopter was on its way to Russia via Uzbekistan for maintenance
- Seven-member crew included a Russian pilot and six Pakistani officials
- Taliban took them hostage and later transported to unknown location
- They set helicopter on fire; other reports say it caught fire as it crashed
Afghan Army later confirmed the news of the helicopter crash-landing and informed Pakistan’s Foreign Office.
The helicopter was given permission to enter its airspace by the Afghan government and its repair process was also scheduled, confirmed the foreign office.
The MI-17 caught fire after the crash, according to Logar governor’s spokesman Salim Saleh while other reports claim that the Taliban set it on fire.
MI-17 helicopters got a history of crashes
Pakistan’s army uses Russian-made MI-17 helicopters, several of which have crashed in recent years.
In February, an army officer was killed when a military helicopter crashed in northern Pakistan on a routine night training mission.
Last August, 12 people were killed when a helicopter belonging to the army crashed in north-west Pakistan.
And seven people – including two foreign ambassadors – died in May last year when a MI-17 army helicopter crashed at a holiday resort in the hills of Gilgit.