It was the latest in a string of kidnappings in the violence-weary country, days after four abducted ethnic Hazara men were killed by their captors.

Abdul Wali Sahi, deputy governor of the eastern province of Paktia, said the Taliban abducted the de-miners on Sunday while they were surveying an area on the outskirts of Gardez, the provincial capital.

The abducted de-miners were employees of Sterling Demining Afghanistan, Sahi said. The company holds mine-clearing contracts throughout Afghanistan.

Safi added the Taliban have taken them to Zurmat district, which is mostly under the militants' control.

Taliban were not immediately available for comment. "We are trying to release them by mediation of our elders in area," Sahi informed.
In addition to the increasingly deadly Taliban insurgency, kidnappings have become more common in Afghanistan, causing many people fear to travel on highways.

On Saturday, gunmen who had kidnapped four ethnic Hazara men in the southern province of Ghazni beheaded their captives, according to a statement from President Ashraf Ghani's office.

Latest News from World News Desk