Saturday 23 February 2019
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business-standard - 12 days ago

Two Moldovan pilot hostages freed from Afghanistan: Govt

Moldova s President Igor Dodon on Monday announced that two Moldovan pilots taken hostage by the Taliban in 2015 have been freed and flown out of Afghanistan for treatment. Helicopter crew members Ion Buruiana and Mihail Crihan were freed from captivity on Saturday and flown to a Moscow hospital, Dodon told a briefing. Their condition is fairly good, he said. It was a secret operation, nobody knew about it, including their relatives. He said that freeing the pilots was only possible with the help of Russian leadership. The Mi-17 helicopter, with a crew of three and 18 passengers, was providing airlift support for the Afghan army when it was hit on November 24, 2015. The company operating the aircraft at the time said that the passengers were Afghan army personnel. Moldovan crew captain Oleg Groza died in a firefight when the helicopter made a forced landing in Taliban-controlled territory. The Afghan defence ministry said at the time two Afghans were also killed, while the rest .

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