24 abducted Afghan civilians freed

Kabul: Twenty-four abducted civilians have been released by their captors in Afghanistan's Sari Pul province, an official said on Friday. "After the provincial officials were aware of abduction of 24 passengers by the Taliban on Wednesday, efforts were put in place to secure the safe release of the abductees. Following the mediation of local elders, the 24 were freed late on Thursday," the official told Xinhua news agency. Earlier reports put at 17 the number of the abductees, who were kidnapped along a roadway between provincial capital Sari Pul city and Balkhab district in the province, 350 km northwest of Kabul.