Afghan conflict: Special forces 'free' prisoners of Taliban

Afghan security forces (December 2015) Image copyright EPA
Image caption The operation has been hailed as a major morale boost for Afghan forces

Afghan special forces have freed more than 60 people held by the Taliban in a makeshift jail in the south of the country, Nato says.

It says the overnight operation took place in Nowzad district in Helmand province. Two insurgents were killed and many were detained in the raid.

It came amid the Taliban's annual spring offensive, which has seen heavy fighting in Helmand.

In December a similar operation led to the release of 40 people.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption The raid comes amid heavy fighting in Helmand province

The latest mission was carried out under the cover of darkness by the Ktah Khas, Afghanistan's counter-terrorism unit and commando forces, the statement said.

Nato said its troops had "supported their Afghan partners in a train, advise and assist role".

The statement gave no details about the liberated prisoners, who are said to have been taken to Kandahar to be debriefed.

The Afghan forces did not sustain any casualties in the raid, Nato added.

Correspondents say the operation is rare success for Afghan forces who have been put on the back foot by Taliban advances in Helmand.

The Taliban have made gains since international troops withdrew from an active fighting role in 2014.

Nato forces are increasingly being deployed in battle zones to support Afghan forces fighting the Taliban.

Last year, the number of people killed and wounded in the conflict rose to the highest level yet recorded, the UN recently said.

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