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Taliban Kidnap 17 in Northern Afghanistan

FILE - In this Nov. 3, 2015 file photo, Afghan Taliban fighters listen to Mullah Mohammed Rasool, the newly-elected leader of a breakaway faction of the Taliban, in Farah province, Afghanistan.

Regional officials in Afghanistan say Taliban abducted at least 17 passengers in the north of the country late Wednesday.

Zabiullah Amani, the provincial governor’s spokesman, said the passengers, local residents of Balkhab district, were traveling by bus to the capital of Sar-e-Pul province when Taliban kidnapped them.

He said local tribal elders were negotiating their release.

This is the second mass kidnapping in a week by the Afghan Taliban. Some 200 passengers were abducted earlier this week by insurgents who set up illegal check points on a highway in northern Kunduz province. They later released some of those passengers but executed at least 17 of them.

Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters gathered in Kabul Thursday for a demonstration against the Kunduz abductions and killings. The protest was organized by the Afghanistan Green Trend party led by former intelligence chief Amrullah Saleh. Demonstrators chanted anti-Taliban slogans.

The protest ended after the organizers were allowed to enter the city and read out their resolution at Pashtoonistan square near the presidential palace gates.

From a different part of Afghanistan, a Parwan police chief said four people: a woman, a man, and two of their drivers, were killed as they drove from Baghlan province to Parwan province. They worked for the non-governmental organization Focus International.

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