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60 Afghan Prisoners Freed from Taliban – A Special Forces Raid | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Smoke billows from the scene of a gun battle between Afghan security forces and militants as militants attack on several government buildings in Helmand province, Afghanistan, 09 March 2016.

LASHKAR GAH, Afghanistan- According to officials, more than 60 prisoners held captive by Taliban were freed by Afghan Special Forces, noting that the prisoners were kept in a house in the southern province of Helmand. Large parts of Helmand were seized and controlled by Taliban under months of ongoing fights.

The house in Naw Zad district, in the province of Kandahar, was attacked by counter-terrorism operators and Special Forces who consequently freed the prisoners, according to a statement from NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Kabul.

During the operation which was supported by coalition forces at least 2 insurgents were killed and several were wounded or detained.

Hayatullah Hayat, the governor of the southern province, said the prisoners who were released during the raid had been taken to Kandahar, further adding “We are still investigating as to who these people are and how long they were kept there.”

Today the militants are stronger than any point since they were driven from power by U.S.-backed forces in late 2001, and thus since the withdrawal of international troops from combat at the end of 2014, the Taliban insurgency has gained a lot of strength.

Nevertheless, fighting has eased recently, partly because the annual opium harvest has meant that many fighters have been employed in the fields of Helmand, where the largest share of Afghanistan’s poppies are grown.

Resolute Support spokesman General Charles Cleveland told reporters on Thursday that commanders expect the fighting to pick up as the harvest is completed over the next few days.