Taliban set free 19 of 50 abducted policemen
The off-duty policemen were kidnapped by the Taliban in an ambush in the Chapa Dara district when they were returning from neighbouring Nuristan province where they had traveled to collect their salaries.
Tribal elders were able to secure the release 19 of the hostages, Sayed Fazlullah Wahidee, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
A member of the provincial council and a resident of the Chapa Dara district, Nasrullah Sapi, told Pajhwok Afghan News the 19 policemen were released as "a gesture of goodwill".
He said the Taliban had demanded the release of their 15 jailed comrades in exchange for the rest of captives.
But a security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, rejected the release of the 19 policemen, saying no negotiation had so far taken place between tribal elders and the militants.
He linked the release of the abducted men to the success of talks between tribal elders and the militants.
A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, asserted responsibility for the kidnapping, but he did not comment on the release of 19 policemen.
Nasrullah Sapi said tens of tribal elders were in talks with the abductors. Five vehicles in which the abductees were traveling had been freed, he said, adding the Taliban wanted the release of their men from Afghan prisons in exchange for the hostages.
The policemen were in civilian clothes and had no weapons with them, the governor of neighbouring Nuristan province, Jamaluddin Badr has said.
Kunar and Nuristan are remote and mountainous provinces that share a porous border with lawless areas of neighboring Pakistan.
The kidnapees were traveling from Want Waigal district of Nuristan to Kunar when ambushed by Taliban fighters, residents say
In a dramatic move, they say, the police, after successfully disarming the fighters, returned weapons back to them after a truce. But later, the police were ambushed and abducted when more Taliban fighters arrived at the scene.
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