Taliban guaranteed freed ANA soldiers to quit job
KABUL (Pajhwok): Two Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers, released by the Taliban a day earlier after held captive during the Feb. 23 attack on their post in eastern Kunar province, on Friday said Taliban freed them after tribal elders guaranteed that they would not resume job.
Staff Sergeant Khairuddin and Mir Agha were among six soldiers went missing after the massive attack on an ANA outpost near the Pakistani border.
Twenty-one Afghan troops were killed and three others were wounded in the assault that involved hundreds of heavily armed militants.
The two were freed by the Taliban a day earlier after spending 20 days in captivity as a result of arbitration by local elders.
Khairuddin, a resident of central Panjsher province, told Pajhwok Afghan News the Taliban had conditionally released them after the negotiating elders guaranteed “we will not join the ANA again.”
He said he and Mir Agha were held separately from the four others soldiers still in Taliban’s custody. “The Taliban would call me and Mir Agha as infidels but they would call the four others as ghazi (holy warriors) and would treat them nicely.”
He said the Taliban had warned them not to continue with their army job, a condition endorsed by the negotiation elders.
Mir Agha, a resident of Kunduz province, said they were aware of a possible attack on their post in Ghaziabad, but intelligence organs were ill-prepared and did not take it serious.
He said most of the soldiers killed were asleep at the time and that was why the troops suffered heavy casualties.
“I was asleep when I heard gunshots and picked up my gun but I was arrested before I could fire. All our colleagues were asleep when they were killed.”
Mohibullah, a tribal elder, who took part in the negotiations, told Pajhwok Afghan News the two soldiers were freed after hectic efforts and a series of negotiation sessions with militants.
He said the Taliban had the only condition to free the soldiers and it was that the two would not return to army job. After their release, the two soldiers were handed over to the military authority in Kunar, he said.
The released soldiers were honoured at a ceremony held at the governor’s house, where Governor Shujaul Mulk Jalala praised elders for their efforts to secure their release. He said the two soldiers were handed over the ANA second battalion in Kunar.
Last night, an intelligence official said that all the six soldiers held captive during the Ghaziabad attack had been freed as a result of efforts by elders.
Of the soldiers stationed at the post, eight were survived after they put up stiff resistance. The eight service members were on Thursday honoured with the highest government award for bravery during a ceremony held at the Presidential Palace.
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