More than 100 people have been taken hostage after Taliban fighters ambushed a convoy of buses in Afghanistan’s northern Kunduz province.
“The passengers were taken hostage on Monday morning when they were on their way to the capital Kabul from Takhar province,” a spokesperson for the Kunduz governor, Esmatullah Muradi, told Al Jazeera.
“There were more than 100 passengers on the buses and they were taken to an undisclosed location.”
A Taliban spokesperson confirmed the group seized ‘three buses packed with passengers’ before adding that civilian passengers will be released.
Security forces personnel on the buses will be kept in custody, the spokesperson added.
The buses, carrying passengers from Badakhshan and Takhar provinces, were on their way to the capital, Kabul, according to Abdul Rahman Aqtash, police chief of the Takhar province.
“We are trying to locate them,” said Aqtash.
The ambush comes a day after Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani’s announced a conditional ceasefire with the Taliban during Eid al-Adha, a Muslim holy festival.
The Taliban did not respond to requests for comment after the announcement but released a statement saying they planned to free “hundreds of prisoners” during Eid.
The government previously announced a ceasefire with the Taliban during the Eid al-Fitr holiday in June this year.
The Taliban accepted the three-day truce but rejected calls by Ghani to extend it.
the fresh ceasefire announcement on Sunday followed a week of fighting across Afghanistan which saw the Taliban launch a massive assault on the provincial capital Ghazni, located two hours from Kabul.
At least 150 soldiers and 95 civilians were killed in a five-day siege, which eased last week when Afghan soldiers backed by US forces pushed back the group’s heavily armed fighters.
SOURCE: Al Jazeera News