Taliban abduct police applicants
KABUL, Afghanistan – Taliban militants have abducted about 50 young men who wanted to join the national police in the eastern province of Kunar, security officials said Sunday.
“These were youths from Vaigal district of Nuristan province who came to the provincial center in hopes of joining the police force,” Gen. Shamsul Rehman Zahid Nuristani, the police chief for the Nuristan province, said of the abductions, which took place Saturday.
Zabiullah Mujahid, spokesman for the Taliban insurgents, claimed responsibility for the abductions in a statement posted on the group’s website, but he asserted that the would-be recruits were police.
Taliban insurgents regularly attack anyone affiliated with the U.S.-backed Afghan government.
Nuristan and Kunar are remote provinces in eastern Afghanistan on the long border with Pakistan. Afghan officials blame Pakistan for not doing enough to crack down on militants who cross the border into Afghanistan.
Nuristani said the would-be recruits were told that there was “no shortage of police in this province; if (more are) needed we’ll call you.” It was on the way back to their home villages that Taliban insurgents detained them, in Chapa Dara district in Kunar province.
He said the authorities had sent local elders to negotiate with the Taliban for the men’s release. “We hope they will be set free soon,” he said.
Also on Sunday, a NATO soldier died after being struck by an improvised explosive device in southern Afghanistan, according to the headquarters of international forces in Kabul. The statement gave no details about the exact location of the incident or the nationality of the dead soldier.