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Afghan Shi'ite Community Leader Says IS Militants Involved In Kidnappings

A soldier keeps watch as members of the Hazara community rally to protest against the kidnapping of 31 men allegedly by the Islamic State (IS), in Ghazni on March 17.

A senior Afghan Shi'ite community leader has said Islamic State (IS) militants were responsible for kidnapping dozens of Shi'ite men and boys in February.

The Associated Press news agency quoted Deputy Chief Executive Officer Mohammad Mohaqiq as saying on April 4 that two former Taliban leaders -- Mullah Abdullah Kaka and his deputy, Mullah Mansur Dadullah -- were responsible for the abduction of 31 members of the minority Shi'ite Hazara community on February 23 in southern Zabul Province.

AP said it's the first time an Afghan leader has accused the IS group of being involved in the kidnappings.

The report quoted Mohaqiq as saying the two militants simply "changed their white flag" of the Taliban for the black IS flag.

In the mass abduction, the victims were traveling by bus on a highway from Kandahar to Kabul.

According to local officials, gunmen rounded up male Hazara passengers and whisked them away, while women, children, and non-Harazas were left behind.

Based on reporting by AP