ISLAMABAD, August 13. /TASS/. Russian pilot Sergey Sevastyanov who was taken hostage by the Taliban on August 4 has been handed over to the staff of the Russian Embassy in Pakistan in Lahore (capital of Pakistan’s Punjab province), Russian Charge d’Affaires in Pakistan Alexander Khozin told TASS on Saturday.
"I confirm that Sergey Konstantinovich was handed over to the staff of the Russian Embassy. We are currently on our way to Islamabad," Khozin said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said earlier that "according to statement made by Pakistan's Foreign Ministry, crew of Mi-17 are released - the helicopter belonged to Punjab government, the crew were kept hostages since August 4 by a Taliban group as the chopper made an emergency landing in the Logar Province." "Among the released is the helicopter's pilot S.K. Sevastyanov," the ministry added.
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 on August 4.
"The Mi-17 transport helicopter crashed in the 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 last 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.".