The Latest: Insurgents kidnap over 60 in Kandahar bus raids

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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Latest on violence in Afghanistan (all times local):

9:30 p.m.

A spokesman for the provincial governor says Taliban insurgents have kidnapped upward of 60 people in several attacks on buses in southern Kandahar that took place over the last four days.

They killed seven of the passengers and another 20 people managed to escape, said Samim Khpolwak. The remaining 33 are still being held by insurgents.

Khpolwak says the buses were travelling from Kandahar's Shah Wali Kot District to neighboring Uruzgan province when they came under attack.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, nor is it known whether any ransom demands have been made.

Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission issued a statement condemning the attacks and warning they represented a human rights violation.


10:10 a.m.

A spokesman for the provincial governor says a ferocious gun battle between the Afghan army and Taliban insurgents in western Farah province has left six Afghan soldiers dead and 12 Taliban killed.

The battle Friday occurred after Taliban insurgents stormed a compound of the Afghan National Security Force in Pusht Rod district. The fighting continued for five hours, spokesman Mohammad Naser Mehri said.

A Taliban statement meanwhile claimed a victory and said 16 Afghan soldiers were killed. Taliban have in the past exaggerated their successes and the remoteness of the area made it impossible to independently verify.


9:20 a.m.

The governor of Afghanistan's northern Badakshan's province says 11 police have been killed and another six wounded during a roaring battle with Taliban insurgents.

Ahmad Faisal Bigzad says another 20 members of a local police force in the remote region of Tagab are missing following Friday's firefight. It wasn't immediately clear if they had been kidnapped or whether they had escaped.

Bigzad says the area of the fighting is tucked inside a mountainous region where access is restricted and even telephone contact is erratic.

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