Pakistan's foreign ministry says the crew of a Pakistani helicopter that went missing in Afghanistan earlier this month has returned home after being freed by their captors.

In a statement, the ministry said Saturday the six-member Pakistani crew was freed with help from tribal elders in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

It did not say who was holding the crew, but an Afghan governor has said the six Pakistanis and a Russian navigator were detained by the Taliban in an area outside the government's control. The helicopter went down on Aug. 4 as it headed to Russia via Afghanistan.

The release of the Pakistani crew came two days after Islamabad said Kabul had informed it that the crew was alive and efforts were being made to rescue them through tribal elders.