Kabul, July 17: At least 54 people, including security personnel and civilians, were released from a Taliban prison in southern Helmand province, a provincial official said on Tuesday.
Omar Zwak, spokesman for the provincial governor, said the prisoners were freed after a commando unit raided the prison late Monday night in Musa Qala district.
Zwak said there were 32 civilians, 16 police, four soldiers and two military doctors who had been locked up by the insurgents. He said security forces were still securing the area. The Taliban did not immediately comment on the raid, but the insurgents are in control of the majority of the districts in Helmand, where they have increased their attacks against provincial officials and security forces.
The Taliban have long refused direct talks with the Afghan government, demanding instead to negotiate with the US.
The militants maintained that position despite Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s unilateral extension of a holiday cease-fire last month in hopes of encouraging the militants to come to the bargaining table. When the Taliban continued to mount deadly attacks, Ghani ordered government forces to resume military operations this month. (Agencies)