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Central & South Asia

Taliban take dozens of Afghan police hostage

Officials say the armed group has kidnapped 27 policemen in a siege in the northeastern Badakhshan province.

Last updated: 22 May 2014 19:52
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Taliban fighters have kidnapped 27 police officers during a siege in northeast Afghanistan, officials say.

The 27 officers who were captured on Thursday were hiding in a cave during the Taliban attack on Wednesday in Yamgan district, General Fazeluddin Ayar, the police chief in Badakhshan province, said.

The Taliban took the officers hostage and police have launched an effort to try and find them, Ayar said. Some 50 other officers in the district hiding in the area escaped, he added.

The armed group claimed responsibility for the attack in a message to media. The fighters routinely execute security forces they capture.

Taliban's summer campaign

The fighting started late on Tuesday and lasted into Wednesday. Reinforcements were sent to the site, but the police were forced to pull back from the area and were fighting the Taliban forces from surrounding mountains as army helicopters flew overhead, said the general.

He added that five fighters were killed, and three policemen were wounded. The Taliban said its fighters had raised the movement's white flag above the district headquarters. Fighting and attacks by the Taliban intensifies every year as the weather in the region becomes better.

However, the interior minister said that the warmer weather was advantageous to both sides: "The summer season is not only suitable to the enemies but to Afghan forces as well. They don't need tents, sleeping bags or heaters."

Badakhshan province nestled in the Hindu Kush and Pamir mountain ranges and bordering China, is one of the most remote areas in the country. It is also where a recent landslide in the province killed hundreds in a rural village.

The Taliban have pledged to disrupt voting as Afghans prepare for a second round of presidential elections on June 14. The first round was relatively peaceful, but no candidate won a majority forcing a runoff vote between the top two candidates - Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai.

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Source:
Associated Press
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