Taliban say they hold foreigners from helicopter

Taliban insurgents said Monday they were holding a group of foreigners taken captive after a helicopter made an emergency landing in eastern Afghanistan.

The Taliban, in a statement on their website, claimed they had taken 11 US military personnel. They "were captured alive and were then transferred to the most secure region of the nation", it said.

The militants routinely make exaggerated claims and officials have said the foreigners were Turkish and Russian civilian workers and numbered up to nine.

The Taliban said they immediately surrounded the helicopter and set it ablaze after it made an emergency landing in bad weather on Sunday in Logar province, south of Kabul.

"The foreign forces, by disassociating themselves from the helicopter, are trying to make it seem as the detainees are civilians but denial will not benefit them as all were captured while wearing American military uniforms," the statement said.

Afghan officials and the firm which chartered the helicopter said it was a civilian flight. The charter firm said seven Turks working on a road project, a Russian pilot and flight engineer and an Afghan co-pilot were on board