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Local Afghan Official Says Talks Under Way To Free Hostages

KABUL -- An Afghan official says negotiations are under way with the Taliban to free a group of mainly Turkish hostages.

They were captured after their helicopter went down on April 21 during bad weather in a militant-controlled area in eastern Afghanistan's Logar Province.

The eight Turkish engineers, an Afghan, and two pilots from Russia and Kyrgyzstan were onboard.

Abdul Wali Wakil, the provincial council chief of Logar, told RFE/RL that a local Taliban commander, Mullah Sadar-e Azam, was holding the hostages.

Wakil said that progress had been made in talks with Azam's group, and he was hopeful the hostages will be released soon.

Another local official, Din Mohammad Darwish, said tribal elders were playing an important role in negotiations.

With reporting by Reuters