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Taliban free Russian pilot after 18 months in captivity

Fri Oct 31, 2014, (Reuters)

The Afghan Taliban said on Friday it had freed a Russian helicopter pilot captured in eastern Logar province in April 2013 because he had fallen seriously ill. Pavel Petrinko was seized along with at least one Afghan citizen and eight Turkish engineers working for a construction company after the helicopter made an emergency landing in the province, which is partly controlled by the militant group. The Turkish passengers were freed soon after the incident.

"Petrinko, who had recently become seriously ill, was released by the Islamic Emirate due to health reasons and after reaching an understanding with the concerned country," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement on Friday.