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Afghan Forces Free Hostages As Taliban Kidnap Government Employees

FILE: Afghan soldiers during an operation against Taliban militants in Helmand Province (September 2018).

Afghan special forces have rescued 12 people from a Taliban prison in the country's south on the same day that the militants kidnapped a group of 15 government employees in the west, officials said.

The National Directorate of Security (NDS), the country's main intelligence agency, said in a statement that special forces stormed a Taliban prison in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand Province and rescued 12 people who had been held hostage.

The NDS did not provide any further details on the raid in Helmand, a Taliban stronghold that is the center of the country's opium production.

The statement came as officials in the western province of Farah said Taliban militants kidnapped a group of government employees.

Provincial council members Khair Mohammad Norzai and Dadullah Qaneh told the dpa news agency that the workers were kidnapped as they were heading to their offices on the outskirts of Farah city, the provincial capital.

Farah, located along the border with Iran, has been the scene of fierce clashes between government forces and the Taliban in recent months.

Based on reporting by dpa and Khaama