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7 escape after Taliban kidnap 47 bus passengers in Kunduz

By CHAD GARLAND | STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 8, 2016

KABUL, Afghanistan — Seven hostages managed to escape from militants who abducted 47 passengers on a bus in northern Kunduz province on Wednesday morning, officials said.

The abduction occurred a little more than a week after a similar incident in the province.

The passengers were seized while traveling from neighboring Takhar province to Kunduz, said Hijratullah Akbari, spokesman for the Kunduz provincial police. Insurgents stopped the bus on the highway between Khan Abad and Kunduz city.

Akbari said the abductors were Taliban, though the group has not claimed responsibility for the incident.

The seven who escaped fled during a clash between the insurgents and police, Sayed Mahmood Danish, a spokesman for the provincial governor, said.

On May 31, the Taliban abducted dozens of passengers traveling through Kunduz province.

In that incident, the insurgents detained nearly 200 people after stopping several vehicles on the highway in Kunduz’s Aliabad district. They later released most of the passengers but killed 10 of them. The Taliban are still holding eight.

Kunduz has been the scene of heavy fighting between Taliban and government forces this spring. Last fall, the insurgents briefly controlled the provincial capital — the first major urban center to fall under their control in the 15-year war.

The insurgent group has enjoyed a resurgence since the withdrawal of most international combat troops in late 2014, and it is believed to control more territory than it has since being ousted from power by the U.S.-led coalition in 2001.

Zubair Babakarkhail contributed to this report.

garland.chad@stripes.com

Twitter: @chadgarland

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