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Taliban take hundreds of families hostage in Helmand: Official

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: Taliban militants have taken hostage hundreds of families in Marjah district of southern Helmand province, said an official source.

Marjah district chief, Ahmad Shafi Solamal, told Azadi Radio that after that the Afghan security forces launched a clearance operation against militants in the district, Taliban started suing civilians as human shields. He said that security forces were practicing more caution to secure safe release of the families.

Afghan security forces recently conducted a large-scale military offensive under the name of Zulfaqar against militants in Sangin, Marjah and other district of the militancy-infested province.

Abdul Salam, a tribal elder form Marjah, confirmed the report and said that Taliban took hostage around 400 families. “The families are under the Taliban’s captivity. They cannot leave,” he said, adding that there is fighting between security forces and the Taliban in the district over the past few days. Abdul Salam said that Taliban has planted mines in the area.

Daulat Waziri, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defense, showed unawareness regarding hostage reports.

“Security forces are fighting against Taliban militants in Marjah. The Taliban has planted mines in the area. However, I am not aware of anyone taken hostage by the Taliban,” he added.

The Taliban haven’t commented about the issue yet.

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