February 20, 2018

Taliban release 235 hostages in northern Afghanistan

10 August 2017, 02:01 | Rufus Hill

Ghani vows revenge for the massacre of scores of civilians in Sar-e-Pul

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Mohammad Noor Rahmani, head of Sar-e-Pul's provincial council, said 44 of the 50 victims were believed to be civilians, with the ALP militia also suffering casualties.

An Afghan security source said he thought there were still around 100 people being held hostage in Mirzawalang after the militants captured the village over the weekend.

So far, ISIL has not commented on the attack or said whether it had joined forces with the rival Taliban.

Locals reported seeing fighters carrying both the white banner of the Taliban and the black banner of Daesh.

Fighting has intensified this year across Afghanistan, with dozens of security incidents recorded every day.

Most of the civilians are staying in local mosques and some are with relatives in the city, and provincial officials are trying to provide food and other necessities for them before finding a long-term solution, he added.

Afghan defense ministry spokesman Dawlat Waziri told AFP that 34 civilians were known to have been killed.

Verifying information from poor, mountainous areas of Afghanistan made inaccessible by fighting and with patchy communications is hard, and AFP was not able to access the village. Afghan News Agency on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook.

"Two hundred and thirty-five hostages have been released".

Militants attacked a security outpost in the Mirza Olang area on August 6, torching 30 houses, and killing at least 50 people, majority members of the largely Shia Hazara community, according to a Reuters report. It also denied allegations the insurgents killed civilians.

Wahdat says Afghan forces retreated form the area after they couldn't gain ground or air support from the central government.

The release of hostages came after Afghan special forces amassed and launched an operation to retake the village.

Meanwhile, gunmen opened fire on a group of four women employees at the Bagram airfield, the main U.S. military base in the country, killing one and wounding a second woman, said Zaman Mamozai, the provincial police chief.

President Ashraf Ghani has vowed "revenge" for the attack but there was little visible sign that security forces were ready to begin.

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