Afghan Taliban militants kidnapped at least seven ethnic Hazaras after a dispute over local sheep, according to local authorities.
The militants stopped three buses at dawn in Afghanistan's Zabul Province, first taking 17 hostages before releasing nine of them, said local leader Wazir Mohammed Jawadi.
Local police chief Mirwais Noorzai said that local Taliban leader Mullah Taqwa ordered the kidnappings because Hazaras allegedly “stole sheep.”
He said the Taliban leader would release the hostages “if the Hazaras give him back his sheep.”
Thousands of Afghans attended the funerals of seven Hazaras after their decapitated bodies were found in Zabul earlier this month.
The Hazara are a Persian-speaking, Shi'ite minority that has long been persecuted in Afghanistan. Thousands were killed in the 1990s by the Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants.