The Taliban has attacked a series of buses in northern Afghanistan, killing at least 12 people and taking dozens of others hostage, officials said.

Afghan officials said that the dead were civilians. 

Zabiullah Mujahid, a spokesperson for the Taliban, told Al Jazeera that four buses carrying around 200 people were stopped by their fighters in Ali Abad District in Kunduz province on Tuesday.

A provincial deputy police commander confirmed to Al Jazeera that the Taliban had killed 12 people and kidnapped 35 security personnel. He said that four dead bodies of security personnel had been taken to the provincial hospital.

Mujahid said there were a number of Afghan security officials dressed in civilian clothes travelling on the bus, which was en route from Kabul to the Takhar and Kunduz provinces.

Thousands killed

The Taliban did not set any demands for the release of the people it was holding.  

The Taliban seized power and ruled Afghanistan from 1996, but were toppled by a US-led invasion after the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.

Almost 15 years later, about 13,000 troops from a US-NATO coalition remain in the country, including about 9,800 Americans.

The violence has killed or wounded about 11,000 civilians in the past year alone, as well as 5,500 government troops and police officers.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies