Masked gunmen have abducted 30 Hazara men who were travelling by bus through southern Afghanistan after returning from Iran, officials and a witness said on Tuesday.
The men, members of the minority ethnic group, were seized on Monday evening in Zabul province, on the road between the western city of Herat and the capital Kabul.
Hazara are often the target of sectarian violence in Pakistan, though such attacks have been relatively rare in Afghanistan.
“Our driver saw a group of masked men in Afghan army uniform signalling him and he thought they were soldiers so he stopped,” Nasir Ahmad, an official with the Ghazni Paima bus company, told AFP.
“The gunmen took 30 Hazaras away with them.”
Ahmad said the kidnappers took only the men on the two buses and not the women and children travelling with them.
A female passenger, who asked not to be named, told AFP they were returning from a trip to Iran when their buses were stopped by the men in uniform.
“They were standing on the highway with their faces covered,” said the woman, whose relatives were among those kidnapped.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 25th, 2015.