Gun­men kid­nap Afghan bus pas­sen­gers, kill seven

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

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

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