Another group of Afghan military personnel have been given refuge by the Pakistan Army after the Afghans were ‘unable to hold their military posts’ on the Pak-Afghan border due to the evolving security situation, said a statement from the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
During recent weeks of fighting, the 300,000 strong Afghan security forces have lost many districts to the Taliban’s offensive, with security forces often surrendering without a fight. The Taliban have seized most of the landlocked country’s international border crossings.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said earlier that the Afghan security forces’ first job was to make sure they could slow the Taliban’s momentum before attempting to retake territory, as Afghan forces plan to consolidate forces around strategically important parts of the country.
“Afghan National Army (ANA) local commander, opposite Arundu Sector, Chitral requested Pakistan Army for refuge and safe passage for 46 soldiers of Afghan National Army and Border Police including 5 officers,” said the ISPR on Monday.
The ISPR added that the Pakistan Army contacted Afghan authorities for information and necessary formalities after which the soldiers and officers were given refuge and safe passage into Pakistan
“Afghan soldiers have been provided food, shelter and necessary medical care as per established military norm,” the military’s media wing stated, adding that the military personnel would be returned to Afghan authorities in a dignified manner after due process.
Previously on July 1, at least 35 Afghan soldiers also requested the Pakistan Army for refuge due to the inability to hold their military post along the international border.
They were also given safe passage into Pakistan and handed over to Afghan government authorities after the due procedure,.
Taliban are gaining control of more and more territory, which the Pentagon estimated earlier now extends to over half of half Afghanistan’s district centres. The Taliban are also putting pressure on the outskirts of half of the provincial capitals, trying to isolate them.
The Taliban’s swift territorial gains are rattling Afghans just as the United States withdraws from a war that succeeded in punishing al Qaeda following its Sept 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington but failed to deliver anything close to peace for Afghanistan.
Earlier, the Afghan government said the Taliban’s claim of holding 90 per cent of Afghanistan’s border was an “absolute lie” with the defence ministry insisting that government forces were in control of the country’s frontiers.
The United States has continued to carry out air strikes to support Afghan government forces that have been under pressure from the Taliban as US-led foreign forces carry out the final stages of their withdrawal from the country.