Forty-six Afghan soldiers sought refuge in Pakistan after losing control of positions across the border following advances by the Taliban.
Hundreds of Afghan soldiers and officials have fled to Tajikistan, Iran, and Pakistan recently after Taliban offensives in border areas.
The Afghan military commander requested refuge at the border crossing in Chitral, the Pakistan army said in a statement. It added the soldiers 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.
The move comes at a time of poor relations between the neighbors. Afghanistan recalled its diplomats from Pakistan after the alleged kidnapping of the Afghan ambassador’s daughter in Islamabad this month.
Afghan officials did not respond to a request for comment.
Afghanistan, US & the Taliban
The Taliban has escalated its offensive since the United States announced in April that it would withdraw its troops by September. The US ended a 20-year foreign military presence.
Washington has said it will continue to carry out airstrikes to support Afghan forces facing insurgent attacks.
The Afghan government and Taliban negotiators have met in Qatar’s capital, Doha, in recent weeks. Although diplomats say there have been few signs of substantive progress since peace talks began in September.
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, Afghan and US officials have said.
The Pakistan army said the Afghan soldiers who sought refuge in Pakistan will be returned to Afghanistan after due process, as had taken place in the case of another batch of 35 soldiers earlier in July.
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