Asia

Gunmen Abduct 30 Shia Muslims in Afghanistan

Masked gunmen have abducted 30 Shia Muslims who were travelling by bus through southern Afghanistan, officials said on Tuesday.

The incident occurred in Zabul Province on the road between the western city of Herat and the capital, Kabul, on Monday evening.

The men are members of the minority Hazara ethnic group. “Our driver saw a group of masked men in Afghan army uniform signaling him and he thought they were soldiers so he stopped,” Nasir Ahmad, an official with the Ghazni Paima bus company, told AFP.

“The gunmen took 30 Hazaras away with them.” Ahmad said the kidnappers took only the men on the two buses.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the abduction.

Interior ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said police were “doing everything to ensure their safe release”.

Fears are recently growing over the influence of the Takfiri ISIL terrorist group in war-torn Afghanistan, which has witnessed long years of instability despite the presence of thousands of US-led troops.

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