KABUL – Afghan Special Forces detained a German national who had been fighting along with the Taliban for almost a year in an operation in southern Afghanistan, several official sources said on Thursday.
The operation, in which another two Taliban insurgents were also detained, was conducted Wednesday night in Greshk district in Helmand province, Abdul Qayum Nuristani, spokesperson for the Afghan National Army-Special Operation Corps told EFE.
“The German national has been detained along with other Taliban fighters by commandos from the 7th Battalion in Greshk of Helmand in a Taliban base,” Nuristani said.
He added that according to initial reports, the German had been in Afghanistan for nearly one year.
Security forces also recovered documents that confirmed his identity as well his involvement with the rebels, the spokesperson said.
“He was a Taliban member and was directly fighting for them against Afghan forces,” he said.
A video posted on social media by the security forces showed how surprised they were when they realized the man in the black turban and red beard was speaking in German.
The man, whose identity was not revealed, said he had been living in the country for about a year and called himself “muhajir,” a term used for Muslims who flee their country of origin in the wake of atrocities to take refuge in an Islamic country.
Afghan Defense Ministry Spokesperson Dawlat Waziri also confirmed the German national’s arrest in a statement and added that several Taliban hideouts and ammunition depots were destroyed in the special operation.
Helmand governor’s spokesperson, Omar Zwak, told EFE that an investigation into how a foreign national joined the Taliban was underway.
Since the end of NATO’s combat mission in January 2015, the Afghan government has been steadily losing ground to insurgents and now controls only 57 percent of the country, according to the United States Special Inspector General for Reconstruction of Afghanistan.