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   KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Officials say a helicopter owned by an Afghan company has made an emergency landing in a Taliban-controlled area of eastern Afghanistan, and the insurgents took all nine people who were aboard hostage.

   A district administrator in the area says the helicopter landed on Sunday afternoon in strong winds and rain in a village of Logar province, southeast of Kabul and about 30 kilometers (or 20 miles) from the Pakistan border.

   Hamidullah Hamid said on Monday that the Taliban captured all nine aboard the aircraft and took them from the area. He says the crew and passengers are all civilian.

   Logar deputy police chief, Rais Khan Abdul Rahimzai, says the helicopter is owned by the Khaorasan company. He didn't know what cargo it was carrying or where it was heading.

Published in National News

 ST. LOUIS (AP) - A Missouri man has been sentenced to two years of probation for aiming a laser pointer at a police helicopter.

Michael Brandon Smith, formerly of O'Fallon, was also ordered Thursday to perform 40 hours of community service during sentencing in U.S. District Court.

The incident happened May 18, 2012. A Metro St. Louis Air Support Police helicopter was responding to a burglary report at a St. Charles County school when the aircraft was struck several times by a green laser beam.

Federal prosecutors say that when the beam struck the glass of the helicopter the vision of the pilot and a second person in the chopper was impacted, and the helicopter had to pull away from the search.

Smith pleaded guilty in November.

Published in Local News

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