An operation has been launched to rescue the 18 Afghan National Army (ANA) personnel who were captured by Taliban, the Ministry of Defence said on Wednesday.
The soldiers and crew were seized after the helicopter carrying them made an emergency landing in northern Faryab province. The chopper flying from Mazar-i-Sharif landed near Maimana Airport at around 3pm on Tuesday.
After the emergency landing, Taliban attacked the soldiers and three crewmembers and a clash between the two sides ensued. The copter,belonging to a private company developed a technical fault, a statement from the ministry said.
It added two ANA soldiers and a foreign national were killed and 18 others were captured by the militants. The security forces had initiated an operation to release the soldiers and crew.
Meanwhile, 209th Shaheen Corps spokesman Maj. Reza Rezaee said the security personnel, a including commander of ANA’s First Brigade had reached the scene to release the captive soldiers.
A resident of Ghor Tepa area of Pashtoonkot district, Sakhi Mohammad, said: “After the landing, people rushed to the scene. The Taliban also came and clashed with the soldiers for a few minutes before setting alight the chopper.”
Three soldiers who resisted were killed by the Taliban and the rest were captured, he said.
But Damullah Rehan, introducing himself as a local Taliban commander, said they had hit the copter in Sherin Tagab district and it made the emergency landing in Pashtoonkot. Sixteen Afghan and foreign soldiers had been seized, he concluded.
By Qutbuddin Kohi