Thousands of Afghan Taliban prisoners entering Pakistan: Report
Chaman (Pakistan): Thousands of Afghans have entered Pakistan through the Spin Boldak/Chaman border crossing in Afghanistan’s southeast after the Taliban’s takeover of the country earlier this week, including patients seeking medical attention and freed Taliban prisoners.
On Tuesday, the border remained open for all Afghans carrying valid identity documents or proof of being a registered Afghan refugee resident in Pakistan, Afghan travellers and authorities told Al Jazeera.
Thousands crowded through a newly installed passage for Afghan travellers into Pakistan at Chaman, with people directed through a wire-link fence topped with barbed wire from the International Border to a transportation hub located less than a kilometre away.
Many travelled with elderly relatives or others needing immediate medical attention, complaining of a lack of health facilities on the Afghan side of the border.
Many of those gathered at the border told Al Jazeera that they were there to receive relatives who had been released from Afghan prisons by the Taliban.
White Afghan Taliban flags fluttered in the breeze, as relatives garlanded the returning fighters.
“Now the Islamic Emirate is in government and there is no war any longer,” said Sanaullah, an Afghan Taliban fighter who returned to Pakistan on Tuesday. “The government of the Taliban is a lot better in Afghanistan.”
Sanaullah, who hails from the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta, about 90km southeast of Chaman, said he was captured in 2013 by Afghan security forces and imprisoned at the infamous Bagram prison, the same year US forces handed it over to the Afghan government, the report said.
Afghan Taliban fighters seized the prison and its attached airbase in July, days after US forces withdrew from the facility which had been the epicentre of the US and NATO military presence in Afghanistan.
“The Taliban came and freed us from prison, there were close to around 7,000 prisoners, and we were freed in about two hours by the Afghan Taliban,” Sanaullah said.