KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AFP) – Masked gunmen have abducted 30 Shiite Muslim men who were travelling by bus through central Afghanistan, officials said on Tuesday.
The men, members of the minority Hazara ethnic group, were taken on Monday evening in Zabul province, on the road between the western city of Herat and the capital Kabul.
Hazara Shiite Muslims are often the target of sectarian violence at the hands of extremists in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
“Our driver saw a group of masked men in Afghan army uniform signalling him and he thought they were soldiers so he stopped,” said Nasir Ahmad, an official with the Ghazni Paima bus company said.
“The gunmen took 30 Hazaras away with them.”
Ahmad said the kidnappers took only the men on the two buses and released the women and children travelling with them.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the abduction.