The Latest: Afghan forces free 149 people taken by Taliban
Aug. 20, 2018
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Latest on the situation in Afghanistan (all times local):
Afghan officials say government forces have freed 149 people — including women and children — who were abducted by the Taliban just hours earlier in the province of Kunduz.
Nasrat Rahimi, deputy spokesman for the Interior Ministry, says the insurgents still hold 21 others hostage following their ambush of a convoy of buses traveling in the Khan Abad district on Monday.
Rahimi says the rescue operation conducted by the security forces has so far killed at least seven Taliban fighters.
Esmatullah Muradi, spokesman for the provincial governor in Kunduz, also confirms the rescue of the hostages and says the operation continues.
Afghan officials say the Taliban have taken more than 100 people, including women and children, hostage in an ambush in the country's north.
This comes despite President Ashraf Ghani's call for a cease-fire with the Taliban during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.
Mohammad Yusouf Ayubi, the head of the provincial council in Kunduz province, says the insurgents stopped three buses on the road Monday near Khan Abad district and abducted the passengers.
Ayubi believes the Taliban were looking for government employees or members of the security forces.
Abdul Rahman Aqtash, police chief in neighboring Takhar province, says the passengers were fram Badakhshan and Takhar provinces and were traveling to the capital, Kabul.
There was no comment from the Taliban but the area of the incident is under Taliban control.