KABUL  - Taliban insurgents said on Monday that 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

The helicopter, owned by air charter company Khorasan Cargo Airlines, made an emergency landing in Logar province late on Sunday due to bad weather, a Khorasan staff member said on condition of anonymity.

"The helicopter was carrying eight Turks, the pilots were Russian and Afghan. We believe they are in good health and Turkish officials are in contact with Afghan officials over the issue," Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Levent Gumrukcu said.

The spokesman said the passengers and pilots were in good health.

Officials in Logar province said it was likely the group was now in the hands of the Taliban. The helicopter landed in Logar's eastern-most district, Azra, which borders Pakistan and is a hotbed of Taliban activity.

The company spoke to the pilots on Sunday afternoon but had heard nothing from them since, the staff member said.

Rais Khan Sadiq, a senior Logar police detective, said he believed insurgents had captured all those on board but was unable to confirm that immediately.

A spokesman for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said a helicopter had come down in eastern Afghanistan but was unable to provide more details.