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Seventeen Minority Hazaras Kidnapped In Afghanistan


File photo of a soldier keeping watch while members of the Hazara community rally to protest against the kidnapping of 31 men allegedly by the Islamic State (IS) in Afghanistan, March 2015.

Afghan officials say gunmen have kidnapped 17 members of the Hazara minority traveling in vehicles in northern Afghanistan -- the second group abduction this week.

The governor of Sar-e-Pul Province, Zaher Wahdat, said the passengers, all civilians, were pulled out of their vehicles in Sancharak district on June 2 and taken to an area controlled by the Taliban.

There was no immediate comment from the Taliban.

Mohammad Noor Rahmani, head of the provincial council, said the kidnapping occurred a day after a Taliban commander in the area was detained by Afghan forces.

"The Taliban may have abducted the passengers to exchange them with their local commander," Rahmani added.

Hazaras are a Persian-speaking, Shi'ite community that has long been persecuted in Afghanistan.

The incident comes two days after the Taliban killed at least 13 people and took several others hostage after ambushing a bus convoy in the northern province of Kunduz.

Two of the hostages were later found dead.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters

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