Seventeen bus passengers were abducted in Afghanistan’s northern Sar-e Pul province, an official said Thursday, just a day after more than 150 were abducted in a similar incident.
The second abduction happened early Wednesday afternoon when a bus was stopped while traveling from Balkhab to Sar-e Pul, said Zabihullah Amani, a spokesman for the Sar-e Pul governor.
The abducted were all men and it is unknown where they were taken, Amani said. No group has claimed responsibility for the incident, but the government blamed Taliban militants.
“A search operation has been launched and tribal elders in the area have been asked to intervene if they find out where the hostages are being held,” he said.
The incident occurred one day after Taliban militants abducted more than 150 passengers in northern Kunduz province.
While most of the passengers were set free, 12 passengers were killed and at least eight others remain in Taliban custody in Kunduz.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for that abduction, saying the group stopped three buses and "found 26 soldiers who were identified by their documents."
The group said it killed six of the soldiers during the incident, and claimed that those who were kidnapped were all members of the government armed forces.
Taliban militants regularly stop 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. The capital Kunduz city briefly fell to the Taliban last year.