Afghan commandos rescue 81 captives from Taliban prisons

By Najibullah

Civilians rescued by Afghan commandos in a raid are shown January 27 in Baghlan province. [Afghan Defence Ministry]

Civilians rescued by Afghan commandos in a raid are shown January 27 in Baghlan province. [Afghan Defence Ministry]

KABUL -- Afghan commandos last month released dozens of civilians and members of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF) from Taliban prisons in a number of special operations.

"The brave commando forces of the [Afghan] National Army (ANA) broke into three Taliban prisons in Helmand, Logar and Baghlan provinces and released 81 captives including civilians and security forces," Ministry of Defence spokesman Rohullah Ahmadzai told Salaam Times Monday (February 1).

ANA commandos rescued 32 people, including 12 members of the ANDSF, in a January 26 operation on a Taliban prison near the Dand-e-Shahabuddin area of Baghlan province, the ministry said.

They arrested three Taliban insurgents in the operation.

In another operation on January 25, the special forces released seven ANDSF members and 15 local civilians from a Taliban prison in Charkh district, Logar province.

They also captured three Taliban fighters and confiscated some weapons and ammunition.

On January 20, the commandos raided a Taliban prison in Nahr-e-Saraj district, Helmand province, releasing 27 civilians.

Most of the freed Taliban captives were brutally tortured, the ministry said in a statement.

Bashir Ahmad, a resident of Baghlan, said his cousin was a shopkeeper whom the Taliban imprisoned in mid-January on charges of co-operating with the government.

"The Taliban brutally beat him up and tortured him," he said.

"If my cousin hadn't been released by the National Army, the Taliban could have done every atrocity to him."

Commando training

Afghan commandos have received the necessary training and are well equipped to carry out these kinds of operations, military analysts say.

The soldiers are equipped with modern and high-quality weapons, said Gen. (ret.) Dawlat Waziri, a former ANA officer from Kabul.

"Anti-government elements should know that wherever they hide in Afghanistan, they cannot escape from the commandos, who have the ability to break into their prisons and release their captives," he said.

The ANDSF have improved their capabilities in recent years and have made considerable achievements, said Gen. (ret.) Atiqullah Amarkhil of Kabul, a security analyst.

"During the current year, as the Taliban have increased their attacks, the ANDSF have shown a great response that is much appreciated," he said.

"It is the commando forces' duty to conduct special operations, and they have been trained for this purpose," said Amarkhil. "Their performance is indeed worthy of praise, and the public has to realise their value."

"The effectiveness of night operations is dependent on the co-operation of intelligence agencies that can provide precise intelligence to these forces," said Brig. (ret.) Yousuf Amin Zazai of Kabul.

Hope for those languishing in captivity

The raids to free ANDSF and Afghan civilians from Taliban prisons have created hope for those still languishing in captivity.

"Those who are ... imprisoned will have hope that the commandos will one day be able to release them," said Waziri.

Conducting such operations creates a positive impact on the morale of the security forces and their families and Afghans in general, he said.

Army cadet Habibullah Habibi echoed that sentiment.

"Caring about security forces and rescuing them when in captivity help elevate the morale of soldiers," he said.

Doing so will strengthen their resolve on the battleground, he said.

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The security forces are admirable. There is no doubt that they have the courage and have learned best military trainings in their field. However, some time ago, I read on one of the social media that an army soldier in Zabul province fled with 30 others. According to him, they were supposed to be killed tomorrow’s of that day. According to common proverb which says (either bed or a coffin). While Taliban were going to late evening prayer, they attacked the duty guard of Taliban and then escaped. The soldier arrived in Kabul and returned to his family and later to his unit and told them the story, which was later reported in the media as government activities. This was a mere lie, and that soldier left his duty. The question is how is it possible as a special military unit of the government has entered a huge compound which was under the rule of Taliban, and it must have entered by plane, but Taliban had no knowledge. Taliban can easily recognize all the government people.