Efforts stepped up to recover abducted passengers: Zabul officials
QALAT (Pajhwok): Authorities in southern Zabul province have stepped up efforts for the release of kidnapped passengers and decided to engage tribal elders to make possible their early release.
A day earlier, gunmen took hostage at least 30 civilians after a search of passenger vehicles in Zabul. The latest hostage-taking episode happened at around 7:00am in Nurak area on the outskirts of Qalat, the provincial capital.
Khalid Sapi, senior advisor to the governor, told Pajhwok Afghan News that an emergency security meeting decided to seek help from local tribal elders in rescuing the passengers.
The tribal elders would establish contacts with the militants involved in the incident hostage-taking episode. Sapi said the participants agreed on launching the rescue operation.
Security forces, jointly led by the provincial police chief and the Afghan National Army (ANA) commander, have been dispatched to the area, Tribal elders are aiding the security personnel.
He claimed some people had stolen cattle of the militant commander’s relatives in Ghazni. Subsequently, Qayyum’s men took the passengers hostage in retaliation for that.
Last month, gunmen abducted 31 passengers from the Hazara community and Shia sect. Twenty-seven of them released later on as a result of mediation by tribal elders, but four of them are still in captivity.
Some weeks back, Islamic State (IS) fighters decapitated in Zabul decapitated the seven Hazara members they had kidnapped from the Jaghori district of Ghazni province.
The civilian killings fuelled anger among the people, with thousands protesting in Kabul and other provinces against the outrage. A fortnight ago, the demonstrators blamed the central government for failing to protect the masses.
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