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Releasing abducted passengers: Zabul officials reject any covert deal

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: It is almost one week that at least 30 passengers (ethnic Hazaras) have been abducted by armed men said to be linked to the international militant group—ISIS or Daesh, but their fate is unknown yet. Officials in southern Zabul province said Sunday that they have come up with no covert deal to release the abducted passengers, but they are increasing their efforts to save the abducted men in near future.

Recently, reports said that the abducted passengers in Zabul have been released in exchange of a container full of weapons and ammunition. However, the reports were rejected soon after releasing.

Radio Azadi quoted Zabul police chief, Ghulam Sakhi Rogh Liwanai, as saying that they were trying to release the abducted men but no deal has occurred in this regard yet.

He said that nothing would be given to the Taliban in a bid to help in releasing the abducted people. He also said that they would never come up with such a deal even if rebels abduct hundreds of Afghan citizens.

A container full of weapons and ammunition was recovered by Zabul police two weeks back. It is said that the container was supposed to be swapped for the release of the passengers.

There is no exact information about identity of the abductors but Zabul provincial council office said the other day that the armed men involved in abducting 30 passengers in the province are linked to Daesh militants.

Head of Zabul provincial council, Ata Jan Haqparast, said the tribal elders would in collaboration with the Taliban would discuss with the abductors about releasing of the 30 men.

He said no demand had been raised by abductors in this regard yet.

In the meantime, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) said that efforts were on to release the abducted passengers in Zabul.

The MoI spokesman, Sediq Sediqi, told a press conference in Kabul did not share any details about the abducted men but said that they were trying to release the abducted passengers and send them to their homes. “We cannot share details in this regard. Hope that we resolve this issue in cooperation with locals,” he added.

Recently, a number of employees of non-governmental organizations were abducted by unknown armed men and the Taliban militants on a number of highways but they were released in exchange of money and in a number of cases they were killed by abductors. However, it is the first time that a number of people have been abducted by those whom government officials say are linked to Daesh.

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