The Taliban attacked a peace convoy in western Afghanistan and abducted 26 peace activists, an area police spokesperson said Wednesday, the Associated Press reported.
The insurgents allegedly attacked the group’s six-vehicle convoy while it was moving through the Bala Buluk district in Farah province Tuesday. The Taliban members then drove the activists, who are part of the People’s Peace Movement, to a currently unknown location, according to provincial police spokesman Mohibullah Mohib, the AP reported.
The attack comes just days after the Taliban claimed responsibility for the filling of a U.S. service member in Afghanistan. The Pentagon is investigating the killing.
The Trump administration has been negotiating with the Taliban toward a deal that could see the removal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. The U.S. war in Afghanistan is the longest in its history.
The Taliban has gained territory in the country and now claims its largest land holdings since 2001.
Mohib confirmed that an operation to locate and free the activist is ongoing. The group was traveling from village to village to rally for peace at the time of their abduction.
Bismillah Watandost of the People’s Peace Movement alleged that 27 of their members were abducted by Taliban forces. The reason for the discrepancy from police officials was not immediately clear, the AP reported.
The Taliban has not claimed responsibility for the attack.
However, Watandost said that tribal elders in the area began negotiating with the Taliban in an effort to free the activists. Phone lines are currently down in the region, making getting updated information difficult, according to the AP.
The People’s Peace Movement began holding rallies last week in the southern Helmand province, an area strongly held by the Taliban. At similar peace rallies in October, the Taliban abducted six people, but they later freed them the same day.