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Two Moldovan pilot hostages freed from Afghanistan: Govt

AFP  |  Chisinau 

Moldova's on Monday announced that two Moldovan pilots taken hostage by the in 2015 have been freed and flown out of for treatment.

Helicopter crew members and were freed from captivity on Saturday and flown to a hospital, 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 helicopter, with a crew of three and 18 passengers, was providing airlift support for the when it was hit on November 24, 2015. The company operating the aircraft at the time said that the passengers were personnel.

Moldovan 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 of the crew and passengers were taken hostage.

on Monday claimed the pilots were actually freed three months ago and were held in to score points for pro-Russian before parliamentary polls on February 24.

"They are being held there for the benefit of during the upcoming elections," Candu said on his page.

confirmed that "took active measures to free the Moldovan pilots over the course of several years."

"Now they are free," she told AFP, without specifying when they were released or confirming any negotiations with the

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

First Published: Mon, February 11 2019. 22:00 IST