Gunmen abducted six Shia Muslims from Hazara community in western Afghanistan

Armed men have abducted six Shia Muslims from the Hazara ethnic community on a highway linking Afghanistan’s western province of Farah to neighboring Herat Province.

Commander of the Second Unit of 207th Zafar Military Corps, Sayed Hassanullah, said on Tuesday that the incident took place in the Kanisk area of Farah.

A search operation has started to rescue the abducted people.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the kidnapping, but abductions for ransom regularly happen in Afghanistan by bandits, local militias, and the Taliban militants.

On February 23, masked gunmen kidnapped 30 Shia Muslims as they were traveling on two buses in central Afghanistan.

The incident took place in the southern province of Zabul on the road between the western city of Herat and the capital, Kabul.

The kidnapped individuals were men from the Hazara ethnic group, which is often targeted by militants in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan.

Fears have recently been growing over the influence of the ISIL Takfiri terrorist group in Afghanistan, which has witnessed years of instability despite the presence of foreign troops.

The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed Taliban from power, but insecurity still remains in some provinces.

The US-led combat mission in Afghanistan ended on December 31, 2014. However, at least 13,500 foreign forces, mainly from the United States, have remained in the country in what Washington calls a support mission.

NATO says the forces will focus mainly on counterterrorism operations and training Afghan soldiers and policemen.


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