Taliban adopts kidnapping passengers as new tactic to subdue Afghans

Xinhua News Agency


Afghans have registered cases of kidnapping of passengers by armed militants over the past one year which means Afghan Taliban adopted a new tactic to subdue Afghans, political analysts said.

On May 31, the armed militants intercepted three buses on Kabul-Kunduz highway outside the northern Kunduz city and took away some 200 people.

Taliban militants who have claimed responsibility for the abduction after killing 10 travelers on the spot and shifting eight others to unknown location set free the remaining passengers.

Days later, the armed militants stopped a passenger bus in the same province Kunduz and dragged out 47 commuters on a main road connecting Kunduz provincial capital the Kunduz city to the neighboring Takhar province and reportedly took away 10 of them to unknown location.

Furthermore, over a dozen passengers were kidnapped in Saripul province couple of days ago and the armed Taliban militants publicly executed 12 of their hostages in Kamawal area of Andar district last Tuesday, according to Jawed Salangi, the spokesman for eastern Ghanzi province.

Afghan political experts are of the view that repeated kidnapping passengers by armed militants is a new tactic adopted by Taliban group to terrorize people and discredit the government.

"Kidnapping bus passengers is a showcase of Taliban de-facto control on the highways and gives the message that the government is unable to ensure highways security," a member of Kunduz Provincial Council, Amrudin Wali told Xinhua recently.

Wali also warned that more travelers would be abducted on the highways if the government fails to stabilize security on the highways.

People's trust to the government would fade if kidnapping travelers on the highways repeated, observers believed.

The Taliban, according to Afghan observers would spare no efforts to spread insecurity elsewhere in the country and targeting soft targets like passengers is one of the ways to achieve the vicious designs.

Frequent abduction of travelers by the Taliban and other armed groups, according to local observers would also undermine trade and business activities in the economically impoverished country.

"Targeting travelers and abducting passengers on Kunduz-Kabul and Kunduz-Takhar highways have badly damaged the business in Kunduz, Takhar and Badakhshan provinces," said a local journalist Nematullah Ahmadi, saying abduction would suffocate the traders to halt business.

Up to 28 abducted passengers according to locals are still in the custody of militants in Kunduz province and the government forces have been mulling the ways and means on how to secure the release of the abductees.

Continued instability has already reduced investment and economic activities in Afghanistan and repeated kidnapping travelers would further add to the dilemma, member of Kabul Provincial Council, Abdul Qadir Zazai Watandost warned.