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Afghan soldiers flee to Pakistan after rebel assault

AT News

KABUL: At least 46 Afghan soldiers have fled to Pakistan after clashing with Taliban militants in tumultuous border areas, Pakistani officials said on Monday.

The troops retreated over the border and were given safe passage on Sunday night after the Taliban stormed their military checkpoints.

Pakistan army said in a statement that dozens of Afghan soldiers requested refuge at the border crossing in Chitral and were given safe passage into Pakistan on Sunday night after clearance from Afghan authorities.

“Afghan soldiers have been provided food, shelter and necessary medical care as per established military norms,” the statement said.

This comes as relations between the two neighbors are strained by discord. A recent kidnapping of Afghanistan Ambassador’s daughter in Islamabad earlier this month has also stoked the flames of tension between the two countries. Afghanistan even recalled its diplomats from Pakistan.

Afghan officials have long been sticking to their guns regarding Pakistan’s state-sponsored terrorism and the recent advances by the Taliban across the country has given momentum to the accusations that Pakistan is behind the surge in Taliban offensive.

This is as Pentagon recently announced that US forces will continue to carry out air strikes to support Afghan forces facing insurgent attacks.

War has intensified in the facing of an ailing peace process. After months of stalemate, the negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban resumed in Qatar but with little effect.

Reeling from battlefield losses, Afghanistan’s military is overhauling its war strategy against the Taliban to concentrate forces around critical areas such as Kabul and other cities, border crossings and vital infrastructure.

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