ISLAMABAD: At least 46 Afghan soldiers crossed over and took refuge in Pakistan's northwestern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province after losing control of a border post to the Taliban militants along the international border, according to media reports on Monday.
The Pakistan Army said the incident occurred late on Sunday night in Arundu sector in the country's Chitral district when an Afghan National Army (ANA) local Commander requested the Pakistan Army for refuge and safe passage.
According to a statement by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), 46 soldiers, including five officers, belong to the ANA and Border Police as "they were unable to hold their military posts along Pak-Afghan International Border due to the evolving security situation in Afghanistan."
The Pakistan Army contacted the Afghan authorities for information and necessary formalities.
"After contact with Afghan authorities and necessary military procedures, 46 soldiers including 5 officers have been given refuge/safe passage into Pakistan," the Army said, adding that the Afghan soldiers have been provided food, shelter and necessary medical care as per established military norms.
It said that these soldiers will be returned to the Afghan government authorities in a dignified manner after due process, Dawn newspaper reported.
Ever since the US announced to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan by September, the Taliban has stepped-up its offensive against Afghan security forces, forcing hundreds of soldiers and other officials to seek refuge in the neighbouring Pakistan, Iran and Tajikistan.
In a similar incident on July 1, at least 35 Afghan soldiers had requested the Pakistan Army for refuge/safe passage due to inability to hold their military post along Pak-Afghanistan International Border.
They were also given a safe passage into Pakistan and handed over to the Afghan government authorities after due procedure, according to the Army.
The Afghan troops have lately come under a lot of pressure from the Taliban.
Earlier in July, more than 1,000 Afghan security personnel fled across the border into Tajikistan following the Taliban attacks.