KABUL (Web Desk) – Taliban militants killed around 16 people after kidnapping nearly 200 bus passengers near the city of Kunduz in northern Afghanistan, officials said on Tuesday.
According to the Kunduz police chief, two buses were stopped and the passengers were seized by gunmen.
However, officials managed to free 160 of them, the BBC reported citing the Afghan police.
The group has not commented on the incident, which took place the in Aliabad district.
Taliban are still active in parts of Kunduz, after most of the city was retaken by Afghan forces last year.
The buses were travelling from Kabul to Badakhshan, in north-eastern Afghanistan, when they were stopped by Taliban who had set up a roadblock.
According to residents, the militants were holding passengers in a local mosque, inspecting documents and questioning them for any government links.
A policeman was believed to be one of the passengers killed.
The Taliban and other armed groups have frequently kidnapped and killed travelers on highways passing through volatile regions of Afghanistan.
Security has deteriorated in Kunduz recently, which became the first major urban center to fall to the group in 14 years last September, dealing a major blow to the fledgling Afghan government.
After several days of fighting, Afghan forces retook control of key areas of the city.
The killing of bus passengers in Kunduz is believed to be the second major attack since Maulana Haibatullah Akhundzada replaced Mullah Akhtar Mansour as the new Afghan Taliban leader last week.
Under the leadership of Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada, the Taliban has vowed that there will be no peace talks with the Afghan government.
The newly appointed leader of the terror group was elevated to the position after a U.S. drone strike killed Mullah Akhtar Mansour in Pakistan earlier this month.
After announcing the selection of their new leader last week, the group claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in the capital that killed 10 people and injured four others, including two children.