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Hazaras Kidnapped In Southern Afghanistan

Protesters march during a demonstration, over the killing of seven Shi'ite Hazaras, in Mazar-e Sharif on November 12.

Unidentified gunmen have kidnapped at least 14 people from a bus in Afghanistan's Zabul Province.

The gunmen stopped three passenger buses on the main highway between Kabul and Kandahar on the night of November 20-21 and kidnapped the 14 victims, who were reportedly ethnic Hazaras, a provincial official said on November 21.

Another official said up to 20 people had been taken.

No one has claimed responsibility or made demands.

The Hazara are a Persian-speaking, Shi'ite minority that has long been persecuted in Afghanistan. Thousands were killed in the 1990s by the Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants.

Seven Hazaras were killed in Zabul Province earlier this month, including women and children.

On November 11, thousands of Hazaras protested in Kabul, calling on the government to protect them and punish those responsible. The protest was dispersed by police firing warning shots over the crowd.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP