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Nov 25, 4:51 AM EST

Moldova says 3 citizens on helicopter ambushed by Taliban

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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- Moldova's interior minister on Wednesday said that three citizens were on a helicopter ambushed by Taliban insurgents in northwestern Afghanistan.

The interior minister, Oleg Balan, said in Chisinau that two Moldovan pilots and a flight engineer were operating the helicopter, which he said belonged to a Moldovan company doing a U.N. peacekeeping mission.

Afghan officials said the privately contracted helicopter, which was carrying military personnel, made an emergency landing Tuesday in a Taliban-controlled region of the Faryab province after suffering a technical problem.

Taliban insurgents ambushed the helicopter, killing three people and capturing 18, according to the Afghan defense ministry. It said one foreigner was among the dead and two foreigners were among those captured, but it gave no details on their nationalities.

Taliban spokesman Qari Yousuf Ahmadi says a total of five people were killed and 15 others, mostly military, were arrested.

Defense Ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri said a rescue operation was underway.


Associated Press writer Corneliu Rusnac in Chisinau, Moldova, contributed to this report.

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