News - Afghanistan
In the wake of a series of kidnappings by foreign militants, a number of MPs from Zabul province on Wednesday urged their local residents and the Taliban to take up arms against the foreigners and push them out of the province.
The remarks came in response to the recent abduction of five family members in Zabul, which followed the kidnapping of 31 bus passengers earlier in the year. The lawmakers appealed to both local communities and armed opposition groups composed of Afghans, looking to inspire outrage against foreign militants by banding Afghans against outsiders.
Neighboring Ghazni province's acting deputy governor, Mohammad Ali Ahmadi, said two women, one child and a man were kidnapped in Zabul last week. According to Ahmadi, just this week, local Taliban leaders told tribal elders that the hostages were abducted by foreign militants. The Taliban has allegedly claimed these foreigners are the same ones that were behind the kidnapping of the 31 bus passengers.
"The abductors are foreign insurgents who kidnapped the 31 passengers in Zabul," Ahmadi said on Wednesday. "They have asked for the release of five women in exchange for the four kidnapped passengers in Ghazni and the remaining members of the 31 abductees."
Most of the 31 hostages taken earlier in the year were freed in May in an alleged prisoner swap deal arranged between the militants and the Afghan government. But Zabul MPs slammed the government's strategy on Wednesday, calling for an end to prisoner swaps.
"I want to ask the Afghan Taliban to find Afghan courage and zeal. It is shameful for them to witness foreign militants kidnapping women and men that are their brothers and sisters," Zabul MP Hamidullah Tokhi said. "In some cases they give refuge to the militants."
MP Fawzi Kofi, the head of the Women's Affairs Commission in the Lower House, called the abducting of women and children unjustifiable, barbaric and cruel.