Kabul: Taliban militants on Saturday intercepted some vehicles in Afghanistan’s eastern province of Paktia and kidnapped at least 27 people, media reported.
The incident took place in Sayed Karam district of the province when the militants closed roads and stopped vehicles in the area, Tolo News reported citing police chief Zalmai Oryakhil.
One witness said roads were closed at about 5 a.m. by the Taliban who then abducted the people.
However, officials did not provide further details about the incident.
Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban said on Twitter that eight government employees were among those “arrested” and that the group was “investigating” the remaining 19.
He implied that if the 19 were found to be non-government officials, they would be released.
Afghanistan has seen a sharp increase in kidnapping cases recently especially in the southern parts of the country. This latest incident comes just days after 19 of the 31 bus passengers, kidnapped in Zabul in February, were freed in an apparent prisoner exchange.
Meanwhile, President Ashraf Ghani, who outrightly denied a prisoner swap, visited the 19 freed hostages on Friday at the Shah Amanullah Khan Hospital in Kabul. He was accompanied by a number of senior officials.
However, the fate of the remaining 12 hostages taken from Zabul is still unknown.
Government officials, however, say efforts are under way for the peaceful release of these hostages.