x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Afghans find bodies of seven abducted soldiers

The badly beaten, bullet-riddled bodies of seven Afghan soldiers were found dumped in an eastern province, apparent victims of insurgents.

KABUL // The badly beaten, bullet-riddled bodies of seven Afghan soldiers were found dumped in an eastern province yesterday, apparent victims of insurgents.

The discovery comes as the Taliban have stepped up their attacks in Afghanistan and US-led foreign forces are reducing their presence in the country. The handover of responsibility for security to local forces has made the Afghan army an even more tempting target than usual for militants.

Residents found the corpses next to each other in Andar district of Ghazni province, their hands chained behind their backs.

The dead soldiers had been kidnapped at different times, with some abducted while they were on leave, said Mohammed Ali Ahmadi, the deputy governor of Ghazni. The victims hailed from northern provinces and were found with identification documents.

The Taliban did not claim of responsibility for the killings, but Mr Ahmadi said the insurgents were known to occasionally stop vehicles in search of people to "prosecute" for working for the US-backed Afghan government or security forces.

In Ghazni's Qarabagh district, two Afghans involved in civilian militias that resist the Taliban were killed during a gunfight with militants, Mr Ahmadi said. Such citizen militias have cropped up in several parts of Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, a roadside bomb killed eight Afghan employees of a private mining company in the north on Saturday, authorities said.

The workers were travelling in a small lorry to the chromite mine in the Bagram district of Parwan province. The provincial governor Abdul Basir Salangi said yesterday that five people also were wounded in the explosion and that the victims were all either labourers or security guards at the company.

An explosion yesterday was apparently aimed at the mayor of the eastern city of Jalalabad but wounded his driver.