Saturday, August 13, 2016

Russian Foreign Ministry confirms Russian pilot released in Afghanistan

Russian pilot Sergei Sevastyanov, seized by Taliban in Afghanistan on August 4, will be transferred soon to the Russian embassy in Islamabad, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.

"According to statement made by Pakistan's Foreign Ministry, crew of Mi-17 is released - the helicopter belonged to Punjab government, the crew was kept hostages since August 4 by a Taliban group as the chopper made an emergency landing in the Logar Province," the Russian Foreign Ministry said. "Among the released is the helicopter's pilot S.K. Sevastyanov."

"We expect that now the Russian citizen will be transferred to the Russian embassy in Islamabad, which will organize for him to return to the Fatherland," the ministry added.

The Russian Foreign Ministry expressed deep gratitude to the Pakistani and Afghani authorities for energetic efforts in release of the Russian citizen.

A Pakistani-owned Mil Mi-17 helicopter made an emergency landing in Afghanistan when it was heading for maintenance and repairs to an enterprise belonging to the Russian Helicopters Company.

"The Mi-17 transport helicopter crashed in Azra district, in the restive province of Logar, then caught fire, said the provincial governor’s spokesperson Salim Saleh. He added that no one was hurt in the crash," The Express Tribune wrote on Saturday. "However, some residents in the area said it was the Taliban who set the chopper on fire after it crashed and took the aircraft’s occupants hostage.".



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