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Pakistani Helicopter Crashes In Afghanistan, Taliban Capture Those Aboard

The Punjab government Mi-17 helicopter went down near in Taliban-controlled territory of Afghanistan near Pakistan's Kurram tribal area, pictured, the scene of a bomb blast last December.

Officials in Islamabad say a government helicopter crash-landed in Taliban-held territory in Afghanistan on August 4 and that all passengers and crew -- including a Russian navigator -- were feared to have been captured by militants.

DawnNews reported that a Punjab government Mi-17 helicopter had seven people aboard and was traveling to Uzbekistan for maintenance when it went down close to the Afghan-Pakistan border and Pakistan's Kurram tribal area.

It reported that all seven people onboard survived the crash but were taken hostage by Taliban militants who set the helicopter on fire.

Pakistani Army General Asim Bajwa said those captured by Taliban militants included retired military officers and a Russian navigator.

Bajwa also said that 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.

Afghanistan’s TOLO News reported that the helicopter belonged to Pakistan’s military.

Based on reporting by AP, Reutes, and DawnNews