Gen Raheel seeks Afghan president’s help for safe recovery of crashed helicopter crew

LAHORE: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif requested Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s assistance for the safe recovery of the kidnapped crew aboard a Punjab government helicopter which crashed in Afghanistan Thursday night.

Director General (DG) Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Asim Bajwa earlier confirmed that seven people were on board the helicopter including retired military officers and a Russian navigator.

The Mi-17 chopper, which was on its way to Russia via Uzbekistan for maintenance, crashed in Afghanistan’s Logar province, where Taliban insurgents took the crew hostage before setting the aircraft on fire.

“The COAS called Afghan President Ashraf Ghani today and asked him to help in the safe and early recovery of the crew members of the Punjab government,” the DG ISPR said.

President Ashraf Ghani assured the COAS of “all possible assistance” in this regard.

The Army chief on Thursday night also called Commander Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan General Nicolson and asked him to help in the recovery of the helicopter crew. General Nicholson assured Gen Raheel of all possible help in the matter.

The Afghan government and Afghan National Army authorities had also been contacted for assistance regarding the recovery of the crew members, the DG ISPR said earlier.

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