On Thursday, the Taliban captured a bus traveling east of Kandahar. 50 passengers were on the bus at the time. 10 were released shortly later, and according to Kandahar provincial police chief Matlullah Khan Qaneh the remaining 40 were killed by the Taliban.
The figure is somewhat in doubt, however, as is the identity of the slain passengers. Afghan General Mohammad Zahir Azimi says that 31 passengers were killed, A Taliban spokesman confirmed 27 killed from the bus, but claimed that they were soldiers in the Afghan army. Gen. Azimi denied the Taliban claim, insisting that military personnel don’t travel on civilian buses. Six beheaded bodies were confirmed recovered from the ambush, and Gen. Azimi reports another 25 bodies have since been found.
The Taliban has a significant presence in Kandahar Province, and has launched numerous high profile attacks in and around the major southern Afghanistan city. NATO has launched major operations in an attempt to expel the Taliban from the area, but they still routinely stop vehicles in area villages and execute anyone suspected of working for or with the Afghan government and international forces.