Taliban frees over 200 Afghan villagers held after attack

COMPILED FROM WIRE SERVICES
ISTANBUL
Published

The Taliban released 235 villagers held after the terrorists captured a village in Afghanistan's northern province of Sar-e Pul, a senior provincial official said.

Zabi Amani, spokesman for the provincial governor, said Wednesday the civilians were released after negotiations between the Taliban and tribal elders. The terrorists were still holding an unknown number of civilians, he said.

Fifty-two civilians including women and children have been killed by the terrorists in Mirza Olang in Sayad district since they took control of the area, Amani said.

Qari Yusouf Ahmadi, a Taliban spokesman, claimed responsibility for seizing the area, but he denied that civilians were killed in Mirza Olang.

Provincial Governor Zahir Wadat said the people from Mirza Olang village had arrived in Sar-e Pul, the main town of the province, although some others were still with the Taliban.

After days of waiting for additional troops to arrive, security forces would soon begin a clearance operation to retake the village, he said.

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