Taliban militants are suspected to have kidnapped at least 17 people from the Hazara minority group in northern Afghanistan, local officials have said.
Zabihullah Amani, spokesman for the governor of Sar-e-Pol Province, said that the Hazara’s were kidnapped from their vehicles in the district of Sancharak.
Amani has claimed that the local government have already sent emissaries to the Taliban to negotiate the release of the kidnapped Hazara’s.
“The passengers, all our Hazara brothers, were travelling towards the city center when their van was stopped by the Taliban and taken away,” said Amani, adding, “We have launched an operation to free them but it didn’t help, so now the elders are trying to free them.”
Mohammad Noor Rahmani, head of the provincial council, believes that the Taliban might be willing to exchange the abducted Hazara’s for a captured Taliban commander. “The Taliban may have abducted the passengers to exchange them with their local commander.”
Although no group has yet claimed responsibility, the area is a Taliban stronghold.