Kandahar (Afghanistan) (AFP) – Taliban fighters kidnapped 43 people from a road construction camp during a raid in southern Afghanistan that also killed four security forces, an official said Friday, in the latest fighting since the group’s ceasefire ended.
Militants attacked the camp in Spin Boldak district in Kandahar province overnight, provincial governor spokesman Dawood Ahmadi told AFP.
Among the 43 kidnapped were technical workers, cooks and drivers. Four police were killed and another wounded after security forces sent to rescue the workers exchanged gunfire with the Taliban, Ahmadi added.
An employee of the Afghan road construction company also confirmed that 43 people had been kidnapped.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, but told AFP that the original target had been a police checkpoint.
Police fled the checkpoint and went to the camp where the construction workers were sleeping. The Taliban pursued the police but, unable to identify who was who, decided to kidnap “many” people, the group said.
In a separate incident in the western province of Badghis overnight, at least eight members of a pro-government militia were killed and another six wounded in a clash with the Taliban.
Provincial governor spokesman Naqibullah Amini said the fighting in Aab Kamari district lasted two hours and was quelled by security forces.
Badghis provincial council head Abdul Aziz Beg put the death toll at 16 militia fighters.
The Taliban returned to the battlefield on Monday after refusing a government request to extend their unprecedented three-day ceasefire over Eid.
President Ashraf Ghani announced last weekend that the government’s eight-day ceasefire, which had been scheduled to expire on Tuesday, would be prolonged for another 10 days.
The first formal nationwide truce since the 2001 US-led invasion had sparked extraordinary scenes of Taliban fighters, security forces and civilians happily celebrating the Eid al-Fitr holiday together.