Kabul : At least 50 people were kidnapped by the Taliban in Afghanistan's Kunduz province, media reported. The victims travelling in a bus were stopped by the Taliban gunmen and took hostages just outside Kunduz city, reported the BBC citing an eye witness. Suspected Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan killed 12 people after stopping their vehicles on a road in the east of the country, while 50 people were kidnapped in the north.
The militants briefly overran Kunduz last autumn before security forces retook most of the city. The Taliban continued to launch major attacks on government forces despite the internal conflict, and the war has shown no sign of abating over the past year. The Taliban attacked checkpoints in the southern Helmand province late yesterday, killing four police, according to the provincial governor's spokesman, Omar Zawaq. Militants frequently kidnap and kill travellers using roads passing through volatile regions of Afghanistan.
The Taliban have stepped up attacks after announcing Haibatullah Akhundzada as their new leader on May 25, elevating a low-profile religious figure after officially confirming the death of Mullah Mansour in a US drone strike. Observers say Akhundzada, who is seen as more of a spiritual figurehead than a military commander, will emulate Mansour in shunning peace talks and intensify attacks against the Afghan government.