Gunmen kidnap Afghan bus passengers, kill seven
Afghan authorities yesterday recovered the bullet-riddled bodies of seven passengers kidnapped by gunmen in the western province of Farah a day earlier, in an attack blamed on Taleban insurgents, police said. The violence, which underscores the fragile security situation in Afghanistan, came after Taleban fighters closed a highway connecting provincial capital Farah to Herat city late Tuesday, stopping a bus and forcing 16 passengers to dismount, Farah police spokesman Iqbal Baher said.
They shot at least seven of them, while the remaining nine were taken hostage, he said. Government forces launched an operation early Wednesday to free the hostages and open the highway, clearing roadblocks set up by the militants, Baher said. They recovered the bodies of seven passengers, he continued, adding that six were civilians and one a police officer.
“It is not clear why the Taliban kidnapped and killed them, and we are still unsure about the fate of the remaining kidnapped passengers,” he stated. The Taleban have so far not commented on the incident in Farah province, which has witnessed an increase in the militant group’s activities recently, according to provincial officials. Highways around Afghanistan passing through insurgencyprone areas have become exceedingly dangerous, with the Taleban and other armed groups frequently kidnapping or killing travelers. —AFP