No Eid Joy for Families of Abducted Passengers

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The families of the remaining abducted passengers who were kidnapped along the Kabul-Kandahar highway earlier this year say their Eid was marked by sadness.

Despite the release of 19 travelers in an alleged prisoner swap in May, the whereabouts of the remaining 12 hostages is still unknown. The worried families meanwhile spent Eid in the protest camp just a kilometer from the Presidential Palace.

“We spend our days crying,” a woman who witnessed the abduction of her 50-year-old husband told TOLOnews. “My son [Nemat] is unable to make a living for us alone.”

She said she has lost hope now and believes her husband is no longer alive. However, the mother of 11 says if he is dead she wants his body returned to her.

The abductors were said to have killed some of the remaining hostages after the negotiations over the release of remaining abductees allegedly failed.

“Now that government failed to save my father’s life, they should at least hand us his body,” Nemat.

The bus passengers were kidnapped on February 24 when a number of unknown gunmen abducted them from Shah Joy district in southern Zabul.

The families of the remaining hostages, including many of those whose loved-ones have already been returned to them, still spend day and night in tents in Zarnigar Park in Kabul.

“I am waiting for my son in this camp for five months and 20 days,” said a mother who broke down in tears. “O Ghani and Abdullah! For God’s Sake listen to our pleas.”

She claimed neither of the government leaders visit them nor are they allowed to meet with them.

Civil society activists who have also joined these families in their tents accuse the government of forgetting about the abducted travelers and neglecting to secure their release.

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