Operation begins to rescue 30 hostages
QALAT (Pajhwok): Security forces on Tuesday launched a major operation to locate and rescue passengers from the clutches of their kidnappers in southern Zabul province, an official said.
Zabul police chief Ghulam Sakhi Rogh Lewanai told Pajhwok Afghan News the offensive began at around 3:00 am in the Khakh-i-Afghan district. Helicopters-borne Special Forces were now engaged in a fierce firefight with insurgents, he said, but did not go into details.
Another security official, wishing anonymity, said Gen. Abdul Raziq, the police chief for southern Kandahar province, and others security officials were partaking in the operations.
About nine days ago, masked gunmen snatched 31 passengers from two buses on the Kabul-Kandahar highway in Shajoy district of Zabul. The kidnappers have so far released only one hostage.
The men were seized in Pash Kandi area on the road between western Herat province and central capital Kabul, Mohammad Ullah Ahmadi, the district police chief had said.
Local residents say the passengers had been kidnapped by gunmen loyal to the so-called Islamic State group, but security officials blame the abduction on Taliban militants.
However, the Taliban have not yet commented on the incident despite Pajhwok Afghan News repeated attempts at knowing their version.
The operation to rescue the kidnapped men, believed to be ethnic Haraza, involves units from the Afghan National Army, police and intelligence agency.
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