Taliban fighters kidnapped 27 Afghan police officers Wednesday during an attack on Badakhshan province, which began Tuesday, in the country's northeast.
The kidnapped officers were hiding in a cave in the province's Yamgan district when they were taken, Gen. Fazeluddin Ayar, the police chief in Badakhshan province, said according to Associated Press, or AP, adding that authorities have launched an effort to find the missing officers even as further attacks continued through Wednesday. The latest attacks are reportedly part of a spring offensive by the militant group, which has promised to derail the democratic process even as foreign troops prepare to leave the strife-torn country in December.
In separate attacks that began Tuesday, eight Afghan policemen were beheaded and another eight were killed within 24 hours, reports said, while Gul Ahmad Bedar, deputy governor of the province, accused the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, of not helping to curb the violence.
“ISAF has not provided us with any help,” Bedar said, according to the New York Times, adding: “ISAF has not bombarded the insurgents; they have not shared any intelligence with our forces. We do not even know how many insurgents are there.”
The Taliban, which claimed responsibility for the attack in a message to the media, usually executes the security personnel that it captures and, despite reinforcements sent to the location to fight them, police forces were forced to pull back from the area, Ayar said, according to AP.
The violence comes in the wake of the Taliban’s efforts to undermine Western forces in Afghanistan and its efforts to disrupt the second round of elections after nationwide polls conducted on April 5 did not yield a clear winner, leading to a runoff vote on June 14 between Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, the two candidates who received the maximum votes in the first round.