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Over 60 Afghan Hostages Freed From Taliban Prison

Commandos freed more than 60 prisoners from a Taliban detention center in southern Afghanistan's Helmand province.

Afghan army commandos, with the support of the international military coalition, conducted an overnight raid and freed more than 60 prisoners from a Taliban-run detention center in southern Afghanistan, officials said Friday.

A statement from NATO's Resolute Support mission in Kabul said the illegal prison was located in the district of Now Zad in Helmand province. It said the Ktah Khas – Afghanistan’s national counterterrorism unit – and an Afghan army commando unit "jointly conducted this successful mission. Coalition forces supported their Afghan partners in a train, advise and assist role."

The helicopter assault was staged "during the cover of darkness" in an effort to disrupt Taliban activities, according to the statement.

It added that Afghan forces did not sustain any casualties during the operation. Two insurgents were killed while "numerous were wounded and detained."

The freed prisoners were safely transported to neighboring Kandahar province before they were turned over to Afghan authorities.

The insurgent group has not yet commented on the prison assault.

The Taliban controls several districts in Helmand, including Now Zad. The province, the country's largest in terms of territory and poppy cultivation, borders Pakistan and has been the scene of recent intense fighting.

This was the fourth raid Afghan forces have conducted against Taliban-run prisons in Helmand in recent months with the support of NATO that freed scores of prisoners, including Afghan security personnel.

Regional army commander General Dawoodshah Wafadar told VOA that a Taliban commander supervising the prison was among those killed in the operation. He said almost all the hostages were civilians.