Locals force Taliban to release civilian hostages in Daikundi province

Dozens of civilian hostages were released after outraged locals stormed into outposts of the Taliban and forced the militants out of the area in Kejran district of the central Daikundi province, according to a councilman from the province.

Talking to Kabul Now, Ghairat Jawahiri, a member of Daikundi Provincial Council, said that the local residents of two villages, Gharma and Bala Dasht, stormed the Taliban outposts and forced the militants to release the hostages.  All the hostages have been released and taken to government controlled areas today, June 21, around 12:00 PM, he added.

Meanwhile, Abbas Kamyar, spokesperson for Daikundi governor, said that only the women and children were released and other hostages are still in Taliban captivity.

Daikundi’s deputy governor, Mohammad Ali Urozgani, confirmed yesterday to Kabul Now that the Taliban had taken 53 civilians, including 27 women and children, while they were traveling on Daikundi-Kandahar highway in Kejran district of the province. According to him, the Taliban took them hostages after a girl eloped with a boy from Charchino district of Urozgan to Gizab district of the same province.

The civilian passengers, who are all from Daikundi province, were taken as hostages by the militants six days ago apparently pressuring Daikundi residents to help the Taliban track and find an eloping couple who fled Taliban-controlled area in the neighboring Urozgan province.

“In return for releasing the hostages, the Taliban have asked residents of Daikundi to hand the two young [couple] over to them. They (the girl and boy) are not, however, in Daikundi. They are in Gizab district [of Urozgan],” said the deputy governor of Daikundi.

The Taliban militants have become active in Kejran and Pato districts of the central Daikundi province in recent years.

The militant group have not commented regarding the incident so far.