ISLAMABAD - A Pakistani government helicopter crash-landed in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, officials said, without confirming reports seven people on board were taken hostage by the Taliban.

“Seven people were on board, but we are unaware of their fate,” a senior government official based in Lahore told AFP on condition of anonymity. The helicopter was being sent to Uzbekistan for overhauling when it crashed in Azra district, in the restive Afghan province of Logar, the official added.

Earlier, local district governor Hamidullah Hamid said seven people on board had been taken hostage by the Taliban and transported to an unknown location. The insurgents have not so far commented on the incident.

A spokesman for Pakistani embassy in Kabul confirmed the crash, but would not say if the passengers had been kidnapped. “An Mi-17 transport helicopter belonging to the Punjab government was scheduled to fly to Russia for repair. We think the same chopper crash-landed in Logar,” Akhtar Munir told AFP.

“Those detained by the Taliban are Pakistanis,” Sameem Saleh, spokesman for Logar’s governor, said. “The chopper was not shot but made the landing because of technical failure.”

A Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman confirmed that a helicopter belonging to Punjab government had gone down, saying the fate of the crew was not yet clear. “The Afghan authorities have assured they will investigate and learn about the whereabouts of the helicopter and the passengers,” spokesman Nafees Zakaria said.

He said seven passengers were on board, six of them Pakistanis and one a Russian technician. The pilot was Pakistani. The aircraft had permission to fly over Afghan airspace on its way to Uzbekistan further north, he said.

Hameed Khan, district governor of Azra district of Logar, said the helicopter landed in his border district, which lies across from Pakistan’s Kurram agency. “They were detained by the Taliban,” Khan said.