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12 people killed, 50 abducted in E. Afghan highway attacks

GHAZNI, Afghanistan, June 8, (RTRS): Suspected Taleban insurgents in Afghanistan killed 12 people after stopping their vehicles on a road in the east of the country, while 50 people were kidnapped in the north, the latest in a spate of highway attacks, officials said on Wednesday.

The Taleban have made considerable gains in fighting in various parts of the country in recent months and the killing of their leader, Mullah Akhtar Mansour, in a US drone attack last month has had no discernable impact on the violence. Attackers in the eastern province of Ghazni stopped two cars late on Tuesday and shot dead everyone they found.

Several members of the security forces were among those killed, said Jawid Salangi a spokesman for the provincial governor. “Taleban ordered the passengers out and brutally shot them dead,” Salangi said. Villagers later found 12 bodies, he said. Taleban spokesmen were not immediately available for comment.

On Wednesday, suspected Taleban stopped a bus and a car near the northern city of Kunduz and took all 50 people in the vehicles hostage, a police spokesman in the area, Mahfozullah Akbari, told Reuters. “We are putting all our efforts into freeing them as soon as we can,” he said.

Travellers have faced a string of murders and kidnappings on roads in recent weeks. Insurgents killed at least nine people and kidnapped 20 when they held up three buses in Kunduz late last month. The Taleban claimed responsibility for that kidnapping. Meanwhile, in a country known for the widespread use of military unmanned aircraft, the Afghan government on Wednesday moved to restrict the use of camera drones by media companies. The Interior Ministry announced the policy, citing national security.

“The Interior Ministry, with all respect it has to media, respectfully announces to all national and international media that they should not use such cameras that have broad coverage and can create problems for security institutions,” the ministry said in a statement.

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