'Foreigners held' in Afghanistan

BY: Enoch Darfah Frimpong

A group of up to nine foreign nationals have been abducted by insurgents in eastern Afghanistan, reports say.

The group were taken after the civilian helicopter in which they were travelling made a forced landing in Azra district in Logar province.

The district is known to be a Taliban-controlled area and the Taliban have told the BBC they have the group.

The aircraft seems to have been forced to make a hard landing in bad weather, and was soon surrounded by insurgents.

The United Nations said the helicopter was not one of theirs.

It was said to be white, like many that fly supply missions across Afghanistan.

BBC correspondent David Loyn says that on any day there are an average of 100 civilian helicopter flights across Afghanistan, and that they are a vital link for remote bases, carrying workers and supplies.

Logar deputy police chief Rais Khan Sadeq told AFP news agency eight of the people taken were Turkish nationals and the other Afghan, adding that the helicopter had been found without its occupants.

But a Turkish foreign ministry official was unable to confirm to the BBC that the helicopter or any of its occupants were Turkish.

A spokesman for the international coalition forces Isaf said they were helping to search for the hostages.

Numerous Western, Pakistani and Afghan hostages are being held in Afghanistan including US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, 25, who has been a prisoner for nearly four years.