In statement, ISPR says the 46 soldiers fled into Pakistan at the Chitral border after they were unable to hold their positions against the advance of the Taliban
The Pakistan Army on Sunday granted “refuge and safe passage” to 46 soldiers of the Afghan National Army and Border Police who were unable to hold their positions along the Pak-Afghan border, according to a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
It said that a local Afghan National Army commander based opposite Pakistan’s Chitral had requested help for the 46 soldiers, including five officers, after they “were unable to hold their military posts along Pak-Afghan International Border due to evolving security situation in Afghanistan.” It said that Afghan authorities had been contacted for relevant information and necessary formalities.
“These Afghan soldiers arrived at Arundu sector, Chitral late last night. After contact with Afghan authorities and necessary military procedures, 46 soldiers including five officers have been given refuge [and] safe passage into Pakistan,” read the statement. “Afghan soldiers have been provided food, shelter and necessary medical care as per established military norms,” it said, adding that they would be returned to the Afghan government in a “dignified manner after due process.”
According to the ISPR statement, this is the second such incident of Afghan soldiers seeking refuge in Pakistan. It said that on July 1, 35 Afghan soldiers had likewise sought held and been “given safe passage into Pakistan and handed over to Afghan government authorities after due procedure.”
In a press conference on Monday, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed confirmed that the soldiers would be returned to Afghanistan “shortly.”
There have been multiple reports of Afghan security personnel fleeing across the border into neighboring countries, including Iran and Tajikistan, amidst a surge in violence perpetrated by the Taliban. The militant group claims to have control of the majority of the country, while the elected government in Kabul maintains that it has yet to take control of any major urban center.