38 freed from Taliban prison in south-eastern Afghanistan

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Thirty-eight people, including senior security personnel, were freed from a Taliban prison in Afghanistan’s south-eastern Ghazni province during a night operation by Afghan commandos, an official said on Monday.

The governor’s spokesman, Arif Noori, said nine Taliban militants were killed and nine others were arrested in the operation that was conducted in Ab Band district on Sunday.

Noori added that a weapons’ depot, a Taliban health facility used for treating wounded militants, an explosive-packed vehicle and motorcycles were destroyed in the operation.

Afghan security forces are stretched thin throughout the country fighting a resilient Taliban, while the militants continue to attack government and security facilities throughout Afghanistan, leaving a high number of casualties.

Meanwhile U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, met Afghan officials, including President Ashraf Ghani, after meeting Taliban representatives in Doha for six days.

“Khalilzad told Ghani that U.S. troop withdrawal and a possible ceasefire were discussed, but nothing was agreed upon,’’ the presidential palace said in a statement.

The statement added that rumours about the establishment of an interim Afghan Government, or the make-up of a future state in the country, were denied by Khalilzad.

Khalilzad had earlier said that “significant progress” was made during the talks.

The Taliban are yet to directly sit down and talk with the Afghan government, whom they consider a “puppet regime.’’ (dpa/NAN)

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