The Taliban have released 16 civilian hostages in Qarabagh district of Ghazni province, local sources say.
Talking to Kabul Now, Fatima Rahimi, a member of Ghazni Provincial Council, said that on Tuesday, February 23, the Taliban released the hostages, who are residents of Qarabagh, Jaghori, and Malistan districts of Ghani.
According to Abdul Malik Habibi, a local elder in Ghazni province, the hostages were released in Mushki area of Qarabagh district and handed over to the local elders. He added that eight Qarabagh inhabitants still remain in Taliban custody in the province. “The Taliban was supposed to release all these people. It is unclear why they have not released them yet,” he said, adding that the militants have vowed to release the remaining eight hostages in upcoming days.
According to Habibi, it is not yet clear what the Taliban have obtained in return for releasing the civilian’s hostages. Implying the act as a hostage’s exchange, he added that the People’s Uprising Force, a local pro-government militia, has released two Taliban fighters who were caught several days ago in the province.
Most of these civilians were kidnapped by the Taliban militants in January 2021 in several attempts in Qarabagh district of Ghazni. They were taken as hostages by the militant group while shuttling back and forth between Kabul and their home districts of Jaghori and Malistan.
The Taliban has not commented regarding it as yet.
Situated in the south-eastern part of the country, Ghazni is a highly insecure province and the Taliban militants control swaths of territories in Ghazni.