Kabul, Feb 16 (efe-epa).- Afghan special forces have rescued and freed 42 prisoners, mostly members of the security forces, from a Taliban-controlled jail in the troubled Baghlan province in north Afghanistan, officials confirmed Tuesday.
The operation was conducted on Monday night in Ali-Khwaja, a Taliban-controlled area in the province’s Baghlan-e-Markazi district.
“Our special forces conducted a night raid last night against a Taliban jail during which they rescued 42 prisoners from the Taliban jail,” Abdul Ghafar Nuristani, spokesperson of the Afghan National Army Special Operation Corps told EFE.
Among those rescued, all of whom are men, are 25 members of the security forces and 17 civilians, including the elderly, he added.
Most of the hostages were abducted from highways in past months by the Taliban, who accused them of working and cooperating with the government.
“After we rescued them from the jail, our forces transferred the rescued men to the northern Balkh province where they will be handed over to their families after a medical checkup and administrative procedures,” Nuristani said.
The special forces did not engage in any clashes with Taliban fighters as all six guards of the jail fled the area within the first few minutes of the operation.
The defense ministry said in a separate statement that these prisoners had been held hostage from between ten days to two years and “were tortured extensively by Taliban.”
In the past month, Afghan special forces have rescued and freed almost 100 people from Taliban jails.
The Afghan security forces have been on the defensive for the past nearly one year in an attempt to reduce violence as part of efforts to help ongoing peace negotiations in Qatar.
Last year, the Afghan government released more than 5,000 Taliban prisoners in exchange for 1,000 members of the security forces as part of the peace process.
However, there are still thousands of Taliban prisoners in government jails, whose release the Taliban has demanded as part of the US-Taliban agreement, signed in February last year.
The release of all Taliban prisoners remains one of the challenges to the resumption of intra-Afghan talks between government and Taliban representatives in Doha.
No meeting between the two sides has been held for nearly a month in Doha, where the two sides are expected to finalize the agenda of talks to negotiate an end to the ongoing war in the country that has been raging since the US invasion in 2001. EFE-EPA