Taliban gunmen took down seven passengers from an inter-city bus in western Farah province last evening and shot them dead, Afghan officials confirmed on Wednesday, Anadolu reported.
Nasir Mehri, spokesman for the provincial government, told Anadolu Agency that the incident took place on a highway connecting the western Farah and Herat cities.
Taliban fighters stopped the private bus a few kilometers from Farah, he added.
“Security forces responded to this attack and killed 10 armed men, while the rest fled the scene,” Mehri said.
The slain passengers were civilians who hailed from Farah and were on their way to Herat, a city which borders Iran, officials said.
Health officials at the Farah City Hospital said nine more passengers, including three women and a child, were injured in the attack. Five of them are in a life-threatening condition.
Mohammad Noorzai, the deputy provincial council chief, was quoted by local media saying that eight civilians had also been abducted.
The Taliban have not commented on the killing of the passengers, but in a message on their website claimed the killing of 14 security personnel, injuring 16, and abducting five others, at the same spot on the outskirts of Farah city, where the bus had been stopped.
Highways across the country are spotted with lawless areas where militants attack travelers suspected of serving the government.
The Taliban, have stepped up their annual spring offensive launched in April against the Western-backed Kabul government, worsening law and order in the landlocked country within South Asia and Central Asia.