On Monday, August 20, Taliban insurgents ambushed a convoy of busses on a road in northern Kundunz province, taking more than 100 people hostage. The fate of the abducted was not immediately known and there has been no statement from the Taliban leadership. The insurgents stopped three busses near Khan Abad district; they had been traveling from the provinces of Badakhshan and Takhar to the capital Kabul.
The ambush comes a day after President Ashraf Ghani announced a conditional ceasefire with the Taliban for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha; the ceasefire was scheduled to begin on August 20. Taliban leadership issued a statement saying that they would observe the from August 20 through August 23. However, the Taliban leadership had previously declared on August 18 that there would be no peace as long as "foreign occupation forces" remain in Afghanistan.
Earlier in August the Taliban launched a major assault on the city of Ghazni (280,000 inhabitants), located 110 km (72 mi) from Kabul. The ensuing battle lasted for five days, during which more than 100 members of the security forces and dozens of civilians were killed. As a reminder, on August 2, three foreign nationals were abducted and killed in Kabul.
The security environment in Afghanistan remains complex. Although travel is permissible in some areas, other areas should be considered strictly off limits. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
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