Three Turkish paraglide pilots are being held hostage on the Silk Road by a gang under the guise of the Taliban. Negotiations are currently underway for the release of the three men, Serdar Durna (31), Yurdaer Etike (36) and Avni Ozan (49), abducted by an active gang, whilst they were paragliding in the Zenedan area in Iran. The three Turkish tourists, who began their trip on the Silk Road through Pakistan, India and Nepal, on December 7, 2005 in Turkey, stopped off to paraglide in Zahedan before leaving Iran to enter Pakistani territory.
According to the latest information obtained from Ankara, Serdar Durna, Yurdaer Etike and Avni Ozan were abducted on December 24. It has been reported that the three sportsmen were abducted and held at ransom for thousands of dollars, by a gang which is part of a drug-trafficking network in the area, consisting of Pakistani, Iranian and Afghan nationals. The kidnapping became known as a result of the families of the three men informing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the men were missing, and is currently being pursued by Turkish ambassador in Tehran, who has held meetings with Iranian officials for the release of the three Turkish men.
Questions arose as to the identity of the kidnappers. One theory is that the three men were abducted by members of the Taliban, suspected by the Iranian Minister of Interior, Mustafa Purmuhammedi, for another abduction -this time of nine Iranian soldiers.