Kandahar: Afghan and NATO forces raided a
secret prison run by the Taliban in southern Afghanistan,
freeing 27 inmates and killing 13 people including five
prisoners, officials said on Wednesday.
The militants had been holding abducted aid workers and
people affiliated with the Afghan government in the hidden
cell in Helmand province, provincial spokesman Daud Ahmadi
The joint forces carried out the operation late yesterday
in Shair Ghazi village, in the volatile Musa Qala district,
"Twenty-seven prisoners were freed, eight Taliban and
unfortunately five prisoners were killed during the
operation," he told AFP.
Five Afghan aid workers employed by International Relief
and Development (IRD), a sub-contractor to USAID, were in the
cell, he said, of whom three were freed and two killed.
The five IRD aid workers had been abducted by the
militants two months ago. Most of the other freed abductees
had been working with the Afghan government or its affiliated
organisations, Ahmadi said.
NATO forces confirmed the raid in a press statement, but
said that all the 13 killed were militants and that no
civilians were hurt.
"During the subsequent engagement, 13 insurgents were
killed when they refused to lay down their weapons. No
civilians were harmed during the operation," the NATO
The alliance said the freed prisoners appeared to have
Taliban militants have enormous influence in Musa Qala,
and control a number of other districts in the region.
Helmand and neighbouring Kandahar province are the worst
hit areas by the Taliban-led insurgency nearing the end of its