World Bulletin/News Desk
There is still no information on the fate of the Turkish citizens who were taken hostage by Taliban forces in Afghanistan in late April after a helicopter carrying the engineers had to make an emergency landing, a senior Turkish diplomat has said. Eight Turkish citizens, engineers and officials of a construction company, together with an Afghan interpreter and two pilots from Kyrgyzstan and Russia, were in a Russian Mi-8 helicopter when it had to make an emergency landing in a remote part of Logar province in the eastern part of the country due to bad weather.
Turkey's efforts, both with Afghan officials and local notables, to ensure the release of the hostages are ongoing, said the diplomat, who spoke to Today's Zaman on the condition of anonymity, confirming that the Turkish engineers are in good health.
“We are still at the same point, there is no progress currently. The local authorities and prominent leaders in Afghanistan are making great efforts and are in close contact with the group that captured our citizens. However, we don't have definite information currently. We appreciate the close cooperation of the Afghan authorities,” said the diplomat.
The Associated Press reported Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid as saying in late April after the abduction that the group was looking into the backgrounds of the 11 captives and was not engaged in negotiations concerning their release.
A Turkish man who was held by the Taliban for more than two years in Afghanistan was freed last month, reportedly thanks to the efforts of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT).
“We are still keeping our hopes alive for the eight citizens. The release process is a sensitive one. As you know, it took more than two years for a Turkish citizen held by the Taliban to be freed,” added the diplomat.
Soon after he arrived in Afghanistan to work for a construction company, Sertaç Dikilitaş (30) was kidnapped by Taliban forces in January 2011.
His abduction was given little coverage in the Turkish media and some reports have even said that his own family was only told of his kidnapping two months after he went missing.Last Mod: 09 Mayıs 2013, 22:46