The Taliban have to this point not commented on the incident in Aliabad district within the unstable province of Kunduz, the place the insurgents briefly overran the provincial capital in a shocking navy victory final yr.
“The Taliban shot lifeless 16 passengers and they’re nonetheless holding greater than 30 others,” mentioned Sayed Mahmood Danish, spokesman for the governor of Kunduz.
Police commander Shir Aziz Kamawal gave a dying toll of 17.
Round 200 passengers have been travelling within the buses after they have been stopped by the Taliban.
“They (Taliban) have launched some passengers however are holding many others. Not one of the passengers have been carrying navy uniform, however some might have been former police,” he mentioned.
Residents of insurgency-prone Aliabad instructed AFP that the Taliban have been holding a casual court docket in a neighborhood mosque, scrutinising the ID paperwork of the passengers and interrogating them for any authorities hyperlinks.
Highways round Afghanistan passing by means of insurgency inclined areas have turn into exceedingly harmful, with the Taliban and different armed teams ceaselessly kidnapping and killing travellers.
Civilians are more and more caught within the cross hairs of Afghanistan’s worsening battle because the Taliban step up their annual spring offensive, launched final month towards the Western-backed Kabul authorities.
The Afghan Taliban final Wednesday introduced Haibatullah Akhundzada as their new chief, elevating a low-profile non secular determine in a swift energy transition after formally confirming the dying of Mullah Mansour in a US drone strike.
The drone assault, the primary recognized American assault on a high Afghan Taliban chief on Pakistani soil, despatched shock waves by means of the rebel motion, which had seen a resurgence below Mansour.
He was killed simply 9 months after being formally appointed chief following a bitter energy wrestle upon affirmation of founder Mullah Omar’s dying.
US President Barack Obama, who authorised the drone strikes, mentioned Mansour had rejected efforts “to significantly interact in peace talks”, asserting that direct negotiations with the Afghan authorities have been the one technique to finish the attritional battle.
The US killing of Mansour confirmed that Washington has not less than for now deserted hopes of reviving the direct peace talks between Kabul and the Taliban, which broke down final summer season.
Observers say Akhundzada, who’s seen as extra of a non secular figurehead than a navy commander, will emulate Mansour in shunning peace talks with the Afghan authorities.