taliban afganistan.jpg
Photograph: EPA/WATAN YAR

At least 10 bus passengers were killed on Tuesday and between 15 to 18 were taken hostage in northern Afghanistan in an attack by the Taliban.

"Six buses were stopped by Taliban fighters in ... Aliabad district," said Hamdullah Danish, a spokesman for the governor of Kunduz province.

The buses were travelling from Kabul to the provinces of Kunduz, Takhar and Badakhsan, government and police officials said.

According to Danish, 150 passengers were freed and the others were taken hostage. 

Earlier in the day, officials had said that 13 passengers were killed and 35 were taken hostage.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the abduction and the killings, saying they killed six people as they tried to flee. The six as well as those who were abducted were soldiers, the group said.

The terrorist group said in a statement that it stopped three buses and searched the passengers and "found 26 solders who were identified by the documents they had with them.

It claimed that the other passengers were released after the search.

Taliban regularly stop passenger vehicles to search for members of the Afghan government, security forces and international organizations.

Kunduz is one of the most embattled provinces in northern Afghanistan. Kunduz city – the capital of the province – briefly fell to the Taliban last year.

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