Afghan conflict: Taliban kidnap bus passengers and kill 10

Taliban militants have killed at least 10 people after kidnapping dozens of bus passengers near the city of Kunduz in northern Afghanistan, officials say.

Two buses were stopped and more than 185 passengers seized by armed gunmen, a statement by the regional police chief said.

Officials managed to free 160 of them, it added.

The Taliban are still active in parts of Kunduz, after most of the city was retaken by Afghan forces last year.

The group have not commented on the incident, in Aliabad district.

The buses were travelling from Kabul to Badakhshan, in north-eastern Afghanistan, when they were stopped by Taliban members who had set up a roadblock.

Residents told AFP news agency that the militants were holding passengers in a local mosque, inspecting documents and questioning them for any government links.

A policeman was believed to be one of the passengers killed, a provincial governor spokesman told the BBC.

The Taliban and other armed groups have frequently kidnapped and killed travellers using highways passing through volatile regions of Afghanistan.

Security has deteriorated in Kunduz recently. It was the first major urban centre to fall to the group in 14 years, last September, in a major blow to the Afghan government.

After several days of fighting, Afghan forces retook control of key areas of the city.

The Afghan Taliban announced last week that Mawlawi Hibatullah Akhundzada was the group’s new leader, replacing Mullah Akhtar Mansour, who was killed in a US drone strike.