Taliban step up kidnappings for ransom in Jawzjan
SHIBERGHAN (PAN): Taliban militants have been extorting heavy ransoms from residents in return for releasing captives, residents of northern Jawzjan province alleged on Tuesday. The insurgents rejected the claim, however.
"The Taliban abducted a teacher, named Arif, from his house last week and demand 200,000 afghanis ($4,300) in ransom," a resident of the Sherbaik area in Qush Tepa district told Pajhwok Afghan News.
Bismillah said Arif's aged mother borrowed 50,000 afs from area people to secure the release of her son from Taliban's captivity. The rebels, who previously collected Zakat and Usher from shepherds and growers, are now kidnapping people and government employees for ransom, he claimed.
"They are harassing people on one pretext or another," said Khairullah (not his real name), another resident of the Bato village of Darz Aab district. Haji Rahman, a dweller of Mughul village, was kidnapped along with his friend last week. They were freed after paying 100,000 afs in ransom, he added.
The town's administrative head, Aminullah, acknowledged that the guerrillas had become a nuisance for the people of remote areas of Qush Tepa. They allegedly get passengers off vehicles in the Chapma Chaqore village and wresting money from them.
However, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid denied kidnappings for ransom. Some unknown armed groups wanted to defame the movement by doing such things and posing as Taliban, he said.
If the victims provide complete information, the Taliban would take steps against such elements, promised Mujahid.
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