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8 Turks, 1 Russian kidnapped by Taliban


08:45, April 23, 2013

ANKARA, April 22 (Xinhua) -- At least one Russian was among the crew members onboard a helicopter which made an emergency landing in eastern Afghanistan, Turkish Daily News reported Monday, citing a spokesman from the Russian embassy in Kabul.

Earlier in the day, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said that Taliban insurgents have seized eight Turks along with an Afghan pilot after their helicopter landed in a rebel-controlled area in Afghanistan's Logar Province due to bad weather condition.

The civilian helicopter, which belongs to a Turkish company, landed in Logar's Azra district, which borders Pakistan and is regarded as a hotbed of Taliban militants.

The Turkish embassy in Kabul is holding intensive talks with Afghan authorities to secure the release of the kidnapped, an Turkish Foreign Ministry official told reporters.

"The helicopter was carrying eight Turks, and the pilots were Russian and Afghan. We believe they are in good health and the Turkish officials are in contact with Afghan officials over the issue," Foreign Ministry spokesman Levent Gumrukcu said.

The kidnapped Turks' whereabouts is still unknown, semi- official Anatolia news agency said, citing diplomatic sources.

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