Kabul: Taliban militants killed at least 17 people after abducting nearly 200 bus passengers in the early hours of Tuesday in northern Kunduz province of Afghanistan.

Relatives of a victim stand over his body in a hospital in Kunduz province of Afghanistan yesterday.
Relatives of a victim stand over his body in a hospital in Kunduz province of Afghanistan yesterday. Pics/AFP

Local government officials confirmed that the Taliban killed at least 12 of the abducted passengers. However, a security official, Shir Aziz Kamawal, said the militants have killed at least 17 of the passengers after kidnapping them from the Kunduz-Takhar highway.

The Taliban insurgents kidnapped at least 185 passengers after setting up a check post on the highway around 2 am.

Majority set free
The insurgents kidnapped the passengers from four buses, three vans and three cars and took them away, the security officials said. However, the majority of the passengers were released after they were interrogated but at least 17 of them were killed.

Hostages
The officials also added that at least 18 of the passengers were still in the custody of the Taliban insurgents and efforts were underway for their safe release. The Taliban insurgents have not commented over the report so far and it was yet not clear why some of the kidnapped passengers were killed.

Crucial Kunduz
Kunduz has been witnessing deteriorating security situation since few months as the Taliban were trying to destabilise the northern provinces. The Taliban insurgents briefly captured the provincial capital of Kunduz last year but it was retaken by the Afghan security forces.