The Taliban have kidnapped 70 Afghans over the past four days in Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan and killed seven of them, Efe news reported on Sunday, quoting a source. “All those kidnapped are residents of Shah Wali Khost district, seven of them were killed on Saturday by the insurgents,” provincial governor’s spokesperson Samim Khapalwak told Efe.
The spokesperson said that the Taliban held 33 hostages after freeing several persons. The kidnappings occurred after the insurgents and the Afghan troops clashed on a road connecting Uruzgan and Kandahar, in which the Taliban suffered “many casualties”.
Khapalwak, who did not provide a specific number of casualties suffered by the Taliban or the Afghan forces, said a rescue operation to free the hostages is underway. Last week, insurgents killed seven people and kidnapped six others along a highway in Farah province in the western part of the country.
Afghanistan is going through one of its most violent periods since the end of NATO’s combat mission in January 2015. Since then, insurgents have been gaining ground in various parts of Afghanistan and currently control, influence, or are in dispute with the government over at least 43 percent of the territory, according to the US.