17 bus passengers abducted in northern Afghanistan

Seventeen bus passengers were abducted in Afghanistan’s northern Sar-e Pul province, an official said Thursday, just a day after more than 150 were abducted in a similar incident.

The second abduction happened early Wednesday afternoon when a bus was stopped while traveling from Balkhab to Sar-e Pul, said Zabihullah Amani, a spokesman for the Sar-e Pul governor.

The abducted were all men and it is unknown where they were taken, Amani said. No group has claimed responsibility for the incident, but the government blamed Taliban militants.

“A search operation has been launched and tribal elders in the area have been asked to intervene if they find out where the hostages are being held,” he said.

The incident occurred one day after Taliban militants abducted more than 150 passengers in northern Kunduz province.

While most of the passengers were set free, 12 passengers were killed and at least eight others remain in Taliban custody in Kunduz.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for that abduction, saying the group stopped three buses and "found 26 soldiers who were identified by their documents."

The group said it killed six of the soldiers during the incident, and claimed that those who were kidnapped were all members of the government armed forces.

Taliban militants regularly stop vehicles to search for members of the Afghan government, security forces and international organizations.

Kunduz is one of the most embattled provinces in northern Afghanistan. The capital Kunduz city briefly fell to the Taliban last year.

Last update: Thu, 02/06/2016 - 12:47

More from World

Syria accused of third chemical weapons attack

UN monitors have concluded that the Syrian regime used chlorine gas in a third chemical weapons attack last year,...

Yemen ceasefire expires as UN envoy pleads for extension

A three-day long truce in the Yemeni conflict expired at 11:59 pm local time (2059) GMT Saturday, despite a plea...

Venezuelan fighter intercepts Colombian passenger flight

A Colombian passenger plane was intercepted and escorted from Venezuelan airspace by a Venezuelan fighter plane, the...

AT&T agrees to buy Time Warner, reports say

Telecommunications giant AT&T has agreed to buy media conglomerate Time Warner in a deal worth 80 billion...

Aleppo ceasefire ends without promised evacuations

No civilians were evacuated during the Russian-announced truce in Aleppo, a Red Cross official in the city said...