An Afghan army commando releases the chains that hold a hostage of the Taliban in Zer-e koh valley, in Western Herat province, Afghanistan, July 17. The commandos, with assistance from the Special Operations forces troops, were searching a compound where Taliban commander Nangialia Khan was known to have been when they discovered a building the Taliban had been using as a jail. Photographer: Spc. Anna Perry, Combined Joint Task Force 101.
Commandos, SOF Forces Rescue Kidnap Victim
By Spc. Anna K. Perry
Combined Joint Task Force 101
PARMAKAN, AFGHANISTAN - A young Afghan man’s prayers were finally answered, July 17, when a team of Afghan national army commandos and U.S. Special Operations forces freed him from captivity after discovering him shackled near a Taliban jail in the village of Parmakan in Western Afghanistan’s Herat province.
The commandos, with assistance from the SOF troops, were searching a compound where Taliban commander Nangialia Khan was known to have been when they discovered a building the Taliban had been using as a jail. Locals say that Khan and his men routinely take hostages from the villages and then demand a ransom for their release.
Abdul Mohammad says that men working for Khan kidnapped him as he tended to his fields one afternoon more than four months ago. The 22-year-old farmer was expected to pay one hundred thousand Afghanis (about $1,000) for his freedom, an unattainable amount of money for release.
“They knew I didn’t have that much money,” said Mohammad, the primary provider for his wife and parents. “So I was told that if I ever wanted to see my family again I needed to sell my farm.”
Mohammad said his family was unable to raise the ransom so he remained in the Taliban jail, enduring countless beatings and near starvation.
“I was hopeless. I had prayed to Allah to just let me die if he could not free me,” he said. “The Taliban whipped me with a cable every day, and only sometimes gave me water and a piece of bread.”
Freedom finally came when the commandos and USSOF troops came bursting through the door of the Taliban jail and discovered Mohammad and 15 other Afghan men who were being held in deplorable conditions.
The other men said they were also abducted for ransom. A few of the men were wealthy. For these, the Taliban increased their ransom, making it impossible for any to be set free.
Mohammad said he was infuriated to know that his money would have paid for a cause he did not believe in. “The Taliban use the ransom money to pay for their fighting,” he said. “I wouldn’t have wanted my money to pay for the destruction of my country and the killing of my people.”
After their rescue, the hostages were taken to a nearby ANA Commando base where they received food, water and medical attention. They were then set free to go home and reunite with their families.
“I am extremely happy that that my country came to rescue me from that jail. It was horrible there with sixteen men crammed into one tiny room with no food and water, just pain,” Mohammad said. “Now I can go see my wife and get back to my farm.”
One commando who participated in the operation was honored to be a part of mission that so clearly benefited his people. “We went in to destroy some Taliban and we were successful at that,” he said. “Not only did we rid this area of many bad men, but we saved the lives of many good.”
A group of Afghan hostages rescued during a Afghan national army commando-led raid of a Taliban compound associated with Nangialai Khan enjoy their freedom at a Commando base near the Zer-e koh Valley in Western Afghanistan’s Herat province. The Commandos assisted by U.S. Special Operations Forces freed 16 men who were kidnapped by Khan and his men over a four month period.