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Taliban Militants Kill Five Afghan Bank Employees, Police Say

Five employees of a state-owned bank have been killed by Taliban militants in the western Afghan province of Herat, police officials said on April 10.

The men were on their way from the Kuhsan district to the provincial capital, Herat City, when they were abducted and shot dead by the militants late on April 9, local police spokesman Abdul Ahad Walizada said. The men worked for a local branch of the Central Bank of Afghanistan.

The Interior Ministry confirmed the incident and blamed it on the Taliban, which has kidnapped several government employees and military personnel in the area in the past. There was no immediate comment from the militant group.

Earlier on April 9, the Afghan government said it had released 100 Taliban fighters, bringing the total number of militants released this week to 200. The government has said it will release 1,500 Taliban prisoners before the start of intra-Afghan peace talks with the militants.

The prisoner release is a critical first step to intra-Afghan negotiations aimed at bringing an end to the Afghan conflict.

A U.S.-Taliban deal signed in February also calls for the Taliban to free 1,000 government personnel whom the militant group is holding hostage.

Based on reporting by dpa,, and AP