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Taliban horse-trade for body of police chief killer

AFP  |  Herat 

The is demanding the body of an assassin who shot dead a powerful chief, in return for the remains of 13 people killed in an army helicopter crash in territory controlled by the militants.

elders in the restive western province of bordering have been handling negotiations for the exchange of bodies for nearly a week.

So far only 12 of the 25 people killed in the helicopter accident in Taliban-controlled district on October 31 have been given to Afghan authorities. Officials blamed bad weather for the crash, but the claimed its fighters brought down the aircraft.

"We want to hand over the bodies from the helicopter crash to their respective families via the International Committee for the Red Cross, but on condition that the enemy hand over the body of martyred fighter Zabihullah Abu Dajana, who killed Abdul Raziq, to his family," said in WhatsApp message.

Among the bodies returned were those of Jamila Amini, civilians and businessmen, governor told AFP. "No military officials have been recovered yet," Mehri said.

police confirmed that 12 bodies had been recovered thanks to the efforts of elders.

"The rest of them are still with the enemy," he added.

The bodies still in Taliban hands include those of the for western and the of the Such horse-trading of bodies between the Taliban and elders acting on behalf of the is not unusual.

But the remains of the gunman who killed Abdul Raziq, a renowned anti-Taliban strongman credited with keeping a lid on the insurgency in the south, has particularly high propaganda value for the militant group.

Raziq was among three people killed when the shooter wearing an Afghan security forces uniform opened fire on a high-level security meeting in city on October 18.

Scott Miller, the top US and NATO in Afghanistan, was standing near Raziq and narrowly escaped unhurt.

Since the attack, the killer's body has been kept in the morgue of in the provincial capital, a health official told AFP on the condition of anonymity.

Muslims typically bury the dead as quickly as possible, normally within 24 hours of a person's death.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, November 05 2018. 15:00 IST