Afghanistan: Hundreds of Soldiers and Officials Flee After Attack

Afghanistan: Hundreds of Soldiers and Officials Flee After Attack

As many as 46 Afghan soldiers have sought refuge in Pakistan after losing control of military positions across the border following the advance of Taliban insurgents, the Pakistani army said on Monday.

UMMATIMES - Hundreds of Afghan soldiers and civilian officials have fled to neighboring Tajikistan, Iran and Pakistan in recent weeks following Taliban attacks on border areas.

Afghan military commanders requested protection at the border crossing in Chitral in the north, the Pakistani army said in a statement.

The soldiers were given safe passage to Pakistan on Sunday evening (25/7) after permission from the Afghan authorities.

"Afghan soldiers have been provided with the necessary food, shelter and medical care as per the established military norms," ​​the Pakistan statement said.

The move was made at a time of poor relations between neighbors. Afghanistan withdrew its diplomats from Pakistan after the brief kidnapping of the Afghan ambassador's daughter in Islamabad earlier this month.

Afghan officials did not respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

The Taliban have stepped up attacks since the United States announced in April that it would withdraw its troops in September, ending a 20-year foreign military presence.

 Washington has said it will continue to carry out air strikes to support Afghan forces against insurgent attacks.

The Afghan government and Taliban negotiators have met in the Qatari capital, Doha, in recent weeks, although diplomats say there has been little sign of substantive progress since peace talks began in September.

Shaken by battlefield losses, the Afghan military is reshuffling its war strategy against the Taliban to concentrate troops around critical areas such as Kabul and other cities, border crossings and vital infrastructure, Afghan and US officials say.

The Pakistani army says soldiers seeking refuge will be returned to Afghanistan after legal proceedings, as happened in the case of 35 soldiers in early July.