Scores of Taliban captives released in Afghan commando raid

Scores of Taliban captives released in Afghan commando raid
Fifty-four Taliban prisoners have been released from captivity in Afghanistan, following a raid by commandos on Tuesday.
1 min read
17 July, 2018
Commandos have secured the area in Helmand province [AFP-file photo]

At least 54 people have been freed from a Taliban prison in Helmand province, following a commando raid by Afghan forces, a provincial official said on Tuesday.

Omar Zwak, spokesman for the provincial governor, said the prisoners included civilians, police and soldiers and were released late Monday night with commandos now securing the area.

Thirty-two civilians, 16 police, four soldiers and two military doctors were among those held by the militants. 

The Taliban did not immediately comment on the raid, where they have increased their attacks against provincial officials and security forces.

There were hopes the Taliban could establish a peace deal with the Afghan government. 

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's announced a unilateral extension of an Eid holiday ceasefire last month in hopes of encouraging the militants to come to the bargaining table. 

Following mounting Taliban attacks, Ghani ordered government forces to resume military operations this month.

Trump administration officials said Monday for the first time that the US would be open to holding direct talks with the Taliban, but this was later denied by NATO.

A US-led force invaded Afghanistan in 2001, with the aim of overthrowing the Taliban government for hosting al-Qaeda, making it the second longest war in US history.