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CHISINAU, December 11. /TASS/. Pilots of a Moldovan helicopter that was downed by Taliban in Afghanistan are alive, Moldova’s acting Prime Minister George Brega said on Friday.
"It has been established that the Moldovan citizens — two pilots and the navigator — are alive and are in captivity. Those who were killed in the helicopter crash were officers of the Afghan government security forces who are conducting armed struggle against Taliban," Brega said after a meeting of the operational headquarters on the release of hostages.
He said it had become known after the bodies of four people from the downed Moldovan helicopter had been handed over via mediators to employees of the International Committee of the Red Cross in the Afghan province of Faryab. There were no Moldovan nationals among them, he added.
"We are in close contact with the Afghan authorities. We are taking effort to have the hostages released. What is important is the fact that all Moldovan citizens are alive. We are confident they will be finally released," he said.
Earlier, the Moldovan government restricted media access to the talks on hostage release due to security considerations.
A Moldovan helicopter contracted by the United States government was shelled in Afghanistan’s Faryab province controlled by Taliban on November 24. After sending a distress signal, the helicopter made an emergency landing. There were 21 people — 18 passengers and three crew members — onboard the rotorcraft. Afghan security officers reached the crash site to find four dead bodies. The rest were seized by Taliban gunmen. A video with the hostages was posted in the internet on the following day.