Forty-six Afghan soldiers, including five officers who had been provided safe passage by the Pakistan Army on Sunday, were "amicably returned" to Afghan authorities today at Nawapass, Bajaur, the Inter-Services Public Relations statement (ISPR) said in a statement.
"These soldiers from the Afghan National Army (ANA) and Border Police were given safe passage into Pakistan, on their own request, by the Pakistan Army in Arundu Sector of the Pak-Afghan international border, Chitral on July 25," the military's media affairs wing stated.
"After necessary clearance, the Afghan soldiers [had] crossed into Pakistan with their weapons, ammunition and communication equipment."
"The soldiers have now been amicably returned to Afghan authorities on their request along with their weapons and equipment. Pakistan will continue to extend all kinds of support to our Afghan brethren in time[s] of need," the statement added.
A day earlier, the ISPR said the army had provided "refuge and safe passage" to the Afghan soldiers after they lost their military posts along the border.
The ISPR statement had further said that a local ANA commander opposite Arundu, Chitral had requested help for the 46 soldiers — including five officers — as “they were unable to hold their military posts along the Pak-Afghan international border due to evolving security situation in Afghanistan”.
The soldiers had subsequently been provided food, shelter and necessary medical care "as per established military norms".
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed had refused to deem the arrival of the Afghan security personnel to Pakistan as "a surrender".