KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — It's the first large-scale capture of foreigners in Afghanistan in nearly six years. The Taliban are holding 11 civilians, including eight Turks and a Russian, after their cargo helicopter made an emergency landing in the eastern part of the country.
Officials say security forces who were sent to the remote area retreated after engaging in firefights with the insurgents.
The crisis began yesterday, when the aircraft was forced down in strong winds and heavy rain southeast of Kabul. A district governor says Taliban fighters then captured everyone who was aboard the civilian transport aircraft and took them away.
The capture or kidnapping of foreigners isn't uncommon in Afghanistan -- but the last seizure of such a large group came in July of 2007, when the Taliban abducted 23 South Korean church volunteers who were traveling by bus. The militants killed two men, but later gradually released the others over the course of a month.
GRAPHICSBANK: Afghanistan flag with text bar, lettering, TALIBAN CAPTURES CIVILIANS, finished graphic (22 Apr 2013)