Taliban take 53 civilians as hostages in Daikundi province

The Taliban have taken 53 civilians, including women and children, as hostages in Kejran district of the central Daikundi province, according to a local official.

Talking to Kabul Now, deputy governor of Daikundi province, Mohammad Ali Urozgani, said today, June 20 that the civilians who are all from Daikunid province were taken as hostage while traveling on Daikundi-Kandahar highway in Gharma village of Kejran district. He added that the hostages, including 27 women and children, are kept by the Taliban militants since five days ago.

According to him, the Taliban have taken them hostages following a girl eloped with a boy from Charchino district of Urozgan to Gizab district of the same 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.

According to the local official, efforts by local elders of Daikundi’s Kejran district to release the hostages had already begun but in vein.

He further went on to warn that the Afghan defense and security forces will launch a military operation to release the hostages, if the efforts by local elders do not bear result. The deputy governor detailed that the military operation was already planned in a visit by the acting defense minister, Asadullah Khalid, to Nili, capital city of Daikundi province.

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

The Taliban have not commented regarding the incident.