Twelve People Killed, 50 Kidnapped in Afghan Highway Attacks

Afghan policemen keep watch near the site of a suicide bomb attack in Kabul, Afghanistan. Suspected Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan killed 12 people after stopping their vehicles on a road in the east of the country, while 50 people were kidnapped in the north, the latest in a spate of highway attacks. REUTERS/Mohammad Ismail

GHAZNI, Afghanistan, June 8 – Suspected Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan killed 12 people after stopping their vehicles on a road in the east of the country, while 50 people were kidnapped in the north, the latest in a spate of highway attacks, officials said on Wednesday.

The Taliban have made considerable gains in fighting in various parts of the country in recent months and the killing of their leader, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, in a U.S. drone attack last month has had no discernable impact on the violence.

Attackers in the eastern province of Ghazni stopped two cars late on Tuesday and shot dead everyone they found. Several members of the security forces were among those killed, said Jawid Salangi a spokesman for the provincial governor.

“Taliban ordered the passengers out and brutally shot them dead,” Salangi said.

Villagers later found 12 bodies, he said.

Taliban spokesmen were not immediately available for comment.

On Wednesday, suspected Taliban stopped a bus and a car near the northern city of Kunduz and took all 50 people in the vehicles hostage, a police spokesman in the area, Mahfozullah Akbari, told Reuters.

“We are putting all our efforts into freeing them as soon as we can,” he said.

Travellers have faced a string of murders and kidnappings on roads in recent weeks.

Insurgents killed at least nine people and kidnapped 20 when they held up three buses in Kunduz late last month.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for that kidnapping.

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