Kabul:At least 27 passengers were kidnapped on Tuesday after Taliban militants intercepted three vehicles in Afghanistan's southern province of Helmand. "Armed militants stopped two trucks and a long-distance bus along Kabul-Herat Highway in Gereshk district. They captured several passengers and took them to nearby villages," a security source told Xinhua news agency. Aqa Noor Kentoz, the provincial police chief, said his forces had launched a search operation to locate and rescue the captives. Qari Yousuf Ahmadi, a purported Taliban spokesman, said the group took the 27 people for interrogation in Gereshk. The Taliban-led insurgency has been rampant since early April when the militant group launched its annual rebel offensive in different areas of the country.