Afghan forces raid frees 60 prisoners from Taliban

US Qaeda Taliban improve ties in Afghanistan

A local official says that Afghan special forces troops have liberated more than 60 prisoners from a Taliban prison in the southern province of Helmand.

"But because we think that al-Qaida is ... beginning to work more with Taliban, they can present a bit of an accelerant for the Taliban".

Under the cover of darkness, Afghan military helicopters from the Afghan Special Missing Wing (Unit 777) transported the Afghan special operations forces to the village.

Two members of the Taliban were killed and a number were wounded or detained, according to the statement.

Al-Qaeda has improved ties with the Taliban in Afghanistan in recent months a USA general said Thursday.

He estimated that there were 100 to 300 members of al-Qaida in Afghanistan. "Coalition forces supported their Afghan partners in a train, advise and assist role".

There are approximately 10,000 USA troops still in Afghanistan, 3,000 of which are there in a counterterrorism role.

Afghan forces, backed by U.S. Special Forces, launched a similar raid in Now Zad in December, freeing more than 40 soldiers and police held in a makeshift Taliban prison. Brig. Gen. Charles Cleveland noted that, in numbers, the Taliban fighters outdid militants from the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, in Afghanistan.

The Afghan Special Operations Forces have stepped up night raids targeting the Taliban insurgents in the restive provinces recently as experts believe the operations have yielded positive results in curbing the insurgency activities of the militants.

Poppy cultivation in Afghanistan has been generally rising over the past decade, fueling the Taliban insurgency and spurring a growing crisis of drug addiction despite costly U.S.-led counternarcotics programs. The rescue mission took place in Now Zad, a restive district in Helmand province that has changed hands numerous times over the course of the 15-year-long war.

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