05:48 GMT23 January 2021
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    Even as the Afghan government announced a three-month-long ceasefire in view of the Eid-ul-Azha festival, Taliban militants reportedly abducted almost 170 people in Kunduz on Monday, prompting government forces to launch an offensive to free the abductees.

    Security forces in Afghanistan have reportedly rescued at least 149 people, including women and children, abducted by Taliban militants in the northeastern region of Kunduz on Monday. Twenty-one captives are still being held by the Taliban, The Associated Press reported.

    Around 170 persons were taken hostage by the Taliban after militants hijacked three buses in the Khan Abad district of Kunduz province. Tolo News quoted Kunduz security director Saifullah Mahzon as saying that the three passenger buses were en route from Takhar province to Kabul when they were intercepted by the Taliban.  

    All the passengers were taken hostage and kept in Nikpe village, where government security forces eventually launched a massive offensive against the abductors.

    President Ashraf Ghani had earlier proposed a three-month-long ceasefire. "As we approach Eid-ul-Adha and to respect the wishes of different segments of society including religious scholars, political parties, politicians, women and civil society leaders, youth and members of high peace council in all 34 provinces, and to respect the wishes of the religious scholars of the Islamic world we announce a ceasefire that would take effect from tomorrow, Monday, till Milad-un-Nabi provided that the Taliban reciprocate," Ghani tweeted.

    ​The US and NATO had welcomed Ashraf Ghani's proposal.



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    rescue, abduction, children, fighting, ceasefire, women, Afghan Armed Forces, Taliban, Afghanistan
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