Nato raids secret Taliban prison
Kandahar - Afghan and Nato forces raided a secret prison run by the Taliban in southern Afghanistan, freeing 27 inmates and killing 13 people including five prisoners, officials said on Wednesday.
The militants had been holding abducted aid workers and people affiliated with the Afghan government in the hidden cell in Helmand province, provincial spokesperson Daud Ahmadi said.
The joint forces carried out the operation late on Tuesday in Shair Ghazi village, in the volatile Musa Qala district, Ahmadi added.
"Twenty-seven prisoners were freed, eight Taliban and unfortunately five prisoners were killed during the operation," he told AFP.
Five Afghan aid workers employed by International Relief and Development (IRD), a sub-contractor to USAid, were in the cell, he said, of whom three were freed and two killed.
The five IRD aid workers had been abducted by the militants two months ago.
No civilian casualties
Most of the other freed abductees had been working with the Afghan government or its affiliated organisations, Ahmadi said.
Nato forces confirmed the raid in a press statement, but said that all 13 people killed were militants and that no civilians were hurt.
"During the subsequent engagement, 13 insurgents were killed when they refused to lay down their weapons. No civilians were harmed during the operation," the Nato statement said.
The alliance said the freed prisoners appeared to have been tortured.
Taliban militants have enormous influence in Musa Qala, and control a number of other districts in the region.
Helmand and neighbouring Kandahar province are the worst hit areas by the Taliban-led insurgency nearing the end of its ninth year.