Pakistan: Afghan soldiers who crossed border after Taliban attack returned

Pakistan’s military said it had granted asylum to at least 46 Afghan soldiers who crossed the Durand Line into northwestern Pakistan after their military posts in Afghanistan were overrun by Taliban insurgents.

At least 46 Afghan soldiers had sought refuge in Pakistan after losing control of military positions across the border following advances by Taliban insurgents have been returned to their homeland, Pakistan’s military has said.

Dozens of Afghan forces, including five officers, had crossed the border late on Sunday near the Pakistani border town of Chitral in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, a Pakistani army statement said.

The Afghan “soldiers have been provided food, shelter and necessary medical care as per established military norms,” the Pakistani army said, adding that it had informed Afghan authorities of the development.

video of 46 Afg soldiers including 5 officers who have been returned to Afghan govt authorities at Nawapass Bajaur today at 0035 PST

These Soldiers from the Afghan National Army and Border Police were given safe passage into Pakistan, on their own request,
— Sumaira Khan (@sumrkhan1) July 26, 2021

The Afghan government earlier denied its troops had crossed into Pakistan.

“This issue is not true. No Afghan military personnel have taken refuge in Pakistan, the sensitivity that all Afghans have against Pakistan and especially our military, is clear to all,” said General Ajmal Omer Shinwari, spokesman for the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces.

Pakistan’s military dismissed the Afghan denial, saying the border crossing by Afghanistan’s military personnel is “confirmed.”

A group of #Afghan army soldiers, who had sought refuge into #Pakistan after losing control of military post on the #Pak-Afghan border, have been returned to their country in a dignified manner, the #ISPR said in a statement.
— Ghulam Abbas Shah (@ghulamabbasshah) July 26, 2021

The Afghan military commander requested refuge at the border crossing at Arundu in Chitral, which borders Afghanistan’s Kunar province, the Pakistan army said, adding the soldiers were given safe passage into Pakistan after clearance from Afghan authorities.

The Pakistan army said the soldiers who sought refuge will be returned to Afghanistan after due process, similar to the case of another batch of 35 soldiers earlier in July.

Hundreds of Afghan army soldiers and civil officials have fled to neighbouring Tajikistan, Iran and Pakistan in recent weeks after Taliban offensives in border areas.