Gunmen kidnap six civilians in western Afghanistan
Unidentified armed men have abducted six civilians on a highway linking Afghanistan’s western province of Farah to the neighboring Herat Province.
Dadullah Qaneh, a member of the Farah provincial council, said the incident took place on Saturday morning, adding that the assailants had briefly blocked the highway before abducting the people.
A search operation has started to rescue the abductees. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the kidnapping, but abductions for ransom regularly happen in Afghanistan by bandits, local militias and the Taliban militants.
On February 23, masked gunmen kidnapped 31 Shia Muslims from the Hazara ethnic community as they were traveling aboard two buses on the road between the capital Kabul and the western city of Herat.
Mohammad Mohaqiq, who is a deputy to Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, said in early April that Mullah Abdullah Kaka and his deputy, Mullah Mansur Dadullah, two former Taliban leaders who have declared allegiance to the Takfiri ISIL terrorists, were behind the abductions.
Mohaqiq further noted that the kidnapped men from the Hazara ethnic group have now been divided into three or four groups, and are being held in different areas of the rugged Zabul province.
The Hazara community, which accounts for as much as 25 percent of Afghanistan’s population, is often targeted by militants in the country and neighboring Pakistan.
Afghanistan faces a security challenge years after the United States and its allies invaded the country in 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror.
The offensive removed Taliban from power, but many areas in the country are still beset with insecurity.