Afghan Taliban today released six Pakistani helicopter crew members who were captured by the terror group on August 4. Five Pakistanis and a Russian were taken prisoner by the insurgents after their government helicopter crashed in eastern Afghanistan.
According to Reuters, a statement from Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: "The six member crew of Punjab government helicopter that went missing in Afghanistan on 4th August 2016 has been recovered and arrived in Islamabad today."
On August 6, Pakistan's Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, sought the return of the passengers from the terror group after a Taliban commander claimed that they were "in safe hands".
"They are being looked after, being provided tea, food, everything. We are in touch with the Pakistani officials. We conveyed to them that they are in safe hands," he said speaking on condition of anonymity, reported Reuters.
"Formal and informal channels are being used to ensure safe recovery of the entire crew," Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said in a statement, as reported by the news agency thereafter.
Moreover, General Raheel Sharif, Pakistan's army chief, had requested Afghan President Ashraf Ghani for his assistance.
"Afghan President Ashraf Ghani assured all possible assistance in this regard," tweeted General Asim Bajwa, the Pakistani military's spokesman.
The helicopter belonging to the Punjab provincial government was en route to Russia from Peshawar for maintenance. On its way, it faced technical faults and made an emergency landing.
The helicopter crashed in the Logar province in eastern Afghanistan. The place is notoriously known for lawlessness and insurgencies since the launch a military operation two years ago. The operation in neighbouring tribal regions of Pakistan pushed several Taliban and allied fighters into Afghanistan.