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 Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz said on Tuesday.


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


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

He said the action was a “great success,” and showed that the Afghan forces are well trained and able to “combat terrorists.”


Polish special forces were primarily involved in preparing the operation and had a supporting role, but the Afghan forces did the fighting, the minister said.


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


Poland has some 200 troops on a NATO training mission in bases across Afghanistan. Their number will be raised to 230 soon, at the alliance’s request, Macierewicz said.

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