The Taliban ambushed a convoy of busses on a road on Monday in northern Afghanistan and took more than 100 people hostage, including women and children, in the latest brazen assault by insurgents, provincial officials said.
The ambush came despite Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s announcement of a conditional ceasefire with the Taliban during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha this week.
The fate of the abducted in Kunduz province in an area that has recently fallen under Taliban control was not immediately known and there was no statement from the insurgents.
The Taliban have resurged in recent years, seizing entire districts across Afghanistan and regularly carrying out large-scale bombings and attacks that have killed scores of people.
Abdul Rahman Aqtash, police chief in neighbouring Takhar province, said the passengers were from Badakhshan and Takhar provinces and were travelling to the capital, Kabul.
“So far, there is no news on the fate of the passengers, but tribal elders and local officials are trying to negotiate with the Taliban,” Ayubi added.
In a message released on the occasion of Eid al-Adha and without pointing to any cease-fire the Taliban leader said on Saturday that the insurgents remain committed to “Islamic goals,” the sovereignty of Afghanistan and ending the war.
For his part, Ghani said he hoped extensions could also be agreed upon to make the cease-fire last until November 20, which will mark the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad.
The government had previously announced a cease-fire with the Taliban during the Eid al-Fitr holiday in June. The Taliban accepted that three-day cease-fire, but later rejected a call by the president to extend it.