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Afghan Police Searching For Missing Villagers After Mass Kidnapping

Afghan authorities have launched a search for some 30 villagers still missing two days after a mass kidnapping in the southern province of Kandahar.

Abdul Raziq, head of the Kandahar provincial police, said about 70 villagers were kidnapped from their homes by gunmen along the main highway in the province on July 21. He said at least seven of them were later killed.

Kandahar police spokesman Zia Durrani said about 30 people were released on July 23 but around 30 others were still missing.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks, although the Taliban has a heavy presence in the region, which is known as a poppy-growing area.

The extremist group has often targeted government officials and security forces for attacks, but the Taliban has been also known to kidnap civilians for use as hostages.

In a statement on July 23, the Taliban denied any involvement in the kidnappings.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP