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Taliban Claims Mass Abductions In Eastern Afghanistan

File photo of General Sher Mohammad Karimi, Afghan chief of Army staff, during a visited to Paktia this year.

Afghan Taliban militants blocked roads in eastern Paktia Province and kidnapped at least 30 occupants at gunpoint before most of the captives were later freed in a police action.

The head of the Paktia provincial police, Zalmai Oryakhail, told RFE/RL on May 16 that a police operation had freed all but six captives, whom he said were civilians.

"We have freed them and at least six others that remain in captivity will be freed as well. They are all civilians and no government employee is among them. ​They are all poor people."

He said an ongoing police action would free the rest.

Officials said militants stopped civilian vehicles in the Sayad Karm district early on May 16 and began carrying out the abductions. The reason behind the kidnappings was not clear.

The Taliban later claimed responsibility for the attack.