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'Two British Taliban' captured in Afghanistan

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, July 21, IRNA -- Two insurgent suspects, believed to be dual nationals with British passports, have been captured by the British special forces in Afghanistan in what could be the first confirmed case of its kind.

There have been only unsubstantiated claims in the past about British-born individuals joining the Taliban-led insurgency to fight UK forces in the country.

'We can confirm that two British nationals have been detained in Afghanistan. Embassy staff are providing assistance,' the Foreign Office in London confirmed, without describing the detainees as suspects.

According to the Guardian, the two men were believed to have been planning an attack on British soldiers and were seized at a hotel in the western city of Herat in a joint operation with Afghan intelligence service, the National Directorate of Security (NDS).

The Ministry of Defence in London would only say that British forces have detained two individuals in Afghanistan 'who claim to be British nationals' and added it was 'not prepared to comment further at this stage.'

Both suspects were taken to a British base in Helmand province but it was immediately unclear what would happen to them or how long they would be detained.

NATO forces in Afghanistan can hold suspects for a maximum of four days before releasing them or handing them over to the Afghan authorities, although the period can be extended.

'The UK has a national policy of detaining beyond 96 hours in exceptional circumstances, in particular where it could provide information that could help protect our forces or the local population,' a Foreign Office spokesman said.

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