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Taliban militants abduct 20 civilians in south-east Afghanistan

Pro-Taliban militants in Pakistan (file photo)

Taliban militants have abducted at least 20 civilians in Afghanistan’s south-eastern province of Ghazni, local officials confirmed on Monday.

The people, who were taken from the province’s Qara Bagh district on Sunday, were transferred to an undisclosed location afterwards, provincial councillors Nasir Ahmad Faqiri and Esmatullah Jamrodwal told dpa.

The area where the abduction took place is fully controlled by the Taliban, according to officials.

A Taliban spokesman told dpa that the group was trying to figure out the issue, without giving further details.
Ghazni is among Afghanistan’s most volatile provinces, where the insurgents control half of its districts and contest with government forces for the remaining ones.

Two government employees were killed by gunmen in the capital of the province early in the morning, Ghazni police said.

The surge in violence comes as the Afghan government and the Taliban have been holding peace talks for more than three months in a bid to find a political solution for decades of war, without any breakthrough. The government and Taliban negotiators are now on a three-week break.

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The Afghan government announced on Sunday that talks will resume on January 5 in Doha, Qatar.

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