News - Afghanistan
President Ashraf Ghani and other senior government officials have reportedly visited the 19 of the 31 bus passengers released Monday at the Shah Amanullah Khan Hospital of Kabul – while the media were prohibited from the coverage.
However, the fate of the 12 other hostages is still unknown. But the government officials say efforts are underway for the peaceful release of remaining abductees.
Nineteen of the 31 passengers kidnapped February 24 from southern Zabul province were released on Monday in an alleged prisoner swap in Jaghori district of southern Ghazni. However Ghani rejected prisoner swap immediately after the release of hostages.
Reports suggest that the government handed over 26 people, 22 of them children, in return for the release of 19 passengers.
As the families of hostages continue to complain over uncertainty regarding the fate of their remaining loved ones, the Ghazni local officials assure that efforts are underway by the local elders of Zabul and Ghazni to secure release of the remaining hostages.
"National Security Council and the National Directorate of Security are working on to secure release of remaining hostages," said Khaliq Dad Akbari, head of Ghani Provincial Council.
He stated that the abductors have transferred the remaining hostages to a remote village in southern Zabul – where the 31 passengers were initially kidnapped.
"They [hostages] are being held in a mountainous area where the roads are blocked and mobile networks do not work either," Akbari noted.
But another local official from Ghazni had recently claimed that six of the hostages had been killed by the abductors and the other six were still being held by them.
Meanwhile, the families of hostages who have set up their protest camps for more than a month declared that they will not put an end to their protests.
"We will continue to our protests until the release of remaining 12 hostages," a civil society activist Abdul Sami said.