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65 troops surrender to Taliban in Helmand: Official

AT-KABUL: As many as 65 Afghan troops surrendered to the Taliban militants in southern Helmand province the other day, said a local official.

Merza Khan Rahimi, the provincial governor, confirmed the incident and said that the 65 troops surrendered a military base to the Taliban militants in Sangin district of the province.

He said that they have conducted an investigation to find out reasons behind surrender of the soldiers to the Taliban. He said that the military base played an important role in security of the district.

The Taliban militants told media that the 65 Afghan troops, including five commanders have joined their ranks in Sangin. Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, a spokesman for the Taliban militants, said that the security troops have also handed over their weapons and other military equipment to the terrorist group.

However, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) denied the report and said that the Taliban might have captured the troops. Dawlat Waziri, spokesman for the MoD, said that Afghan troops will never surrender to the militants. “This is war and pushing back enemy, retreating, capturing areas and leaving military bases are part of the war,” TOLOnews quoted Waziri as saying.