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Norway expresses ‘great sadness’ over death of ambassador in Pakistan crash


Borge Brende

Borge Brende

Norway expressed “great sadness” over the death on Friday of its ambassador to Pakistan in a helicopter crash claimed by the Taliban.

Leif Larsen, 61, was “one of our best and most experienced diplomats” who was “very respected by his colleagues,” Foreign Minister Borge Brende told reporters, adding that his Pakistani counterpart had told him the causes of the crash “could not be fully explained yet.”

“This will be investigated,” and the Pakistani authorities have already “established an investigation committee,” Brende said.

Larsen, married and the father of one, had been stationed in Islamabad since 2014.

The ambassador was killed, along with the Philippines envoy and at least five others, when the military helicopter they were travelling in crashed on a school in a remote area of the Himalayas.

The Taliban in Pakistan have claimed responsibility for the crash, claiming they downed the helicopter as part of a plot to kill Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who had been travelling to the same region in a plane.

It was not immediately possible to verify the Taliban claim and the northern region where the chopper came down, Gilgit-Baltistan, is not known as a stronghold of the militant organisation.

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