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Zabul abduction: Nine of 16 passengers released

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 AT-KABUL: Nine of the 16 passengers kidnapped on Kabul-Kandahar highway have been released, said the Ministry of Interior (MoI) on Sunday.

Unidentified gunmen kidnapped 16 passengers in Nurak area of Zabul province the other day. According to some sources, all of the kidnapped people were from Hazara ethnic minority.

Seddiqi Seddiqi, spokesman for the MoI, told reporters in Kabul that security forces in cooperation with local elders secured release of nine captives from the gunmen. He said that efforts are underway to secure release of the remaining seven captives.

He added that they have initiated serious efforts to ensure security of Kabul-Kandahar highway to prevent from repetition of such incidents in the future.

“After this very incident, we have increased our efforts to enhance coordination among Afghan National Police (ANP) and Afghan National Army (ANA) to ensure safety of passengers on highways,” Seddiqi said.

This incident came around eight months after that unknown gunmen kidnapped 31 passengers on the same highway in Shahjoi district of Zabul province. The kidnapped passengers were released after several months in captivity.

Around two weeks ago, military loyal to Daesh beheaded seven hostages in the same district that triggered massive protests in Kabul and other provinces.