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Taliban abduct 25 Hazara passengers in Sar-i-Pul

AT-KABUL: Taliban insurgents kidnapped 25 passengers, including men and women, in Suncharak district of Sar-i-Pul province.

They were travelling from Balkh Ab district to Sar-i-Pul city, capital of the province, when stopped by the insurgents at gunpoint.

Authorities have confirmed that all passengers were from the Hazara community. The Taliban have released four women and an elderly man while the fate of the 20 others remains unknown.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in a statement issued here said that it was deeply concerned by the spate of abductions, hostage-taking and summary executions carried out in recent days against passengers travelling in civilian vehicles.

“Taking civilians hostage is indefensible,” said Nicholas Haysom, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and head of UNAMA.  “I call for the immediate and unconditional release of all civilians detained and a halt to this horrible practice.”

Spokesman to the governor said that efforts were underway to secure release of the abducted passengers. He said that tribal elders were asked to negotiate release of the passengers with the Taliban.

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