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Afghanistan: 235 Taliban Hostages Released, 60 Civilians Martyred
Local Editor

Afghan officials said that the Taliban terror group released 235 people held hostage following a brutal attack on villagers in northern Afghanistan.

Afghanistan: Hostages Released after Taliban Sar-E Pul Attack

The hostages were freed on Tuesday, days after it was reported 50 civilians, including women and children, had been massacred in the Mirzawalang area of Sar-e Pul province.

However, reports said the death toll had risen to 60 Shia civilians.

But provincial spokesman Zabihullah Amani said many more were still trapped.

Taliban and the Wahhabi Daesh [Arabic acronym for the terrorist "ISIS" / "ISIL"] militants attacked the area last week.

The battle began on Thursday when a checkpoint manned by local police was attacked. Two days later, the militants entered the village and massacred people - mainly Shia Muslims - in "a brutal, inhumane way", according to a provincial spokesman.

The militants set fire to several mosques, torched at least 30 houses, beheaded a number of villagers and shot dozens of others dead, other officials said.

Seven members of the Afghan security forces had also been killed, as well as a number of insurgents, the spokesman said.

Amani said the assailants launched the attack under the command of a local Taliban commander who had pledged allegiance to Daesh.

A Taliban spokesman, Qari Yusouf Ahmadi, claimed responsibility for seizing the area, but denied killing civilians in Mirza Olang, cooperating with Daesh, or using foreign assailants.

On Tuesday, following negotiations led by the provincial governor and local tribal elders, a large number of hostages were released.

But Governor Mohammad Zaher Wahdat told Afghan channel Tolo News they had not been able to recover the bodies.

He said the hostages, who have been taken to the provincial capital, "are so shocked they can't even speak to tell us about any more other hostages".

One security source told news agency AFP there were as many as 100 people still being held.

Fighting has intensified across Afghanistan in recent months. More than 1,662 civilians were killed in the half of the year, according to UN figures.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

09-08-2017 | 09:46

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