Polish, Afghan special forces rescue 11 hostages from the Taliban

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WARSAW, POLAND—Polish and Afghan special forces, backed by U.S. air power, freed 11 people who had been taken hostage by the Taliban in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, Poland’s Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz said on Tuesday.

The hostages included two solders, four police officers and five civilians, all of them Afghan nationals who had been held captive for four months in a village held by the Taliban, Macierewicz told a news conference in Warsaw.

“These people were beaten, tortured, treated terribly for four months,” he said.

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The Polish special forces, who are usually based in Kandahar province but were in Helmand on a training mission, were primarily involved in preparing the operation to free the hostages and had a supporting role, but it was the Afghan forces who did the fighting against the Taliban, the minister said.

Macierewicz added that the success of the operation shows that the Afghan forces are well trained and able to “combat terrorists.”

He said U.S. helicopters also took part in the rescue.