Fifty-eight members of the Afghan Border Police, who crossed the border into Turkmenistan following heavy battles with Taliban militants, have returned home through the Torghundi Port in the western Herat province on Monday, the Ministry of Defense said in a statement.
The forces came under attack by Taliban militants in Bala Murghab district, which shares border with Turkmenistan, in the northwest of Afghanistan, almost two weeks ago. The battle, according to Ministry of Defense, continued for two weeks.
The ministry said women and children also accompanied the soldiers when they crossed the border into Turkmenistan after they came under pressure by Taliban militants.
Another 58 members of the border forces, the ministry said, were captured by the Taliban.
“Search operations will continue until we release them,” the statement added.
“From among 150 security force members, some of them surrendered to the Taliban due to the compulsion and some other were forced to flee,” said Abdul Aziz Bek, member of Badghis Provincial Council.
“We are in a war situation. A war situation has its own words. It is true that one or two of our personnel are in the hand of the enemy, but we also have some of the enemies with us as hostages,” said Noorullah Qaderi, Commander of Afghan Army’s 207 Zafar Corps.
Footage released by Ministry of Defense earlier this week shows an airstrike purportedly targeting Taliban hideouts in the district.
“They migrated to Turkmenistan alongside their families. They stayed in Turkmenistan for two days, but some of them had surrendered to the Taliban. We do not have any information about their fate,” said Wali Shah Nayeb, an MP.
This comes a week after at least 20 Afghan security force members were killed in a Taliban attack in Badghis following a fierce battle with the militants.
Also on February, 15 Afghan security force members who had been captured by the Taliban were able to escape Badghis.