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Taliban Kidnap About Two Dozen Travelers in Helmand

Protesters condemn the kidnapping and brutally killing of innocent Afghan passengers by Taliban who were abducted from the Kabul-Kunduz highway, June 1.

Afghan officials say Taliban militants have kidnapped about two dozen men after pulling them off a bus and trucks in the southern province of Helmand.

The latest in a series of abductions on the country's increasingly dangerous highways took place before dawn on June 21 in Helmand's Washer district.

The provincial governor's spokesman, Omar Zwak, said the abducted men had been traveling on a bus and two trucks from the city of Kandahar toward the western province of Herat.

He said the authorities think the men were taken to a Taliban stronghold in Helmand's Marja district.

Witnesses said the militants were wearing uniforms of the Afghan National Army when they stopped the vehicles and initially detained as many as 60 people.

They said women and children were released later.

A Taliban statement said the militants were seeking Afghan officials and that those who are not working for the government in Kabul would be released.

The statement said others would face what the Taliban calls "Islamic justice."

Based on reporting by AFP and AP