Taliban insurgents behind the recent mass kidnapping in Kunduz, used a government biometric system to check if bus passengers were security force members, said commander of 808 Spinzar Zone, Sher Aziz Kamawal.
The insurgents ambushed a number of busses along the Kunduz-Baghlan highway last week, and initially took 200 passengers hostage. They executed 10 on the spot and later killed another two. The majority of hostages have been released but the fate of at least eight is still unknown.
Kamawal said the released passengers were all tested by the Taliban before being freed.
"The passengers said Taliban had a machine which checked their fingerprints. Most of the passengers were not familiar with the machine but we knew it was a biometric device that could identify security force members from amongst civilians," he told TOLOnews.
He also acknowledged that police force members had been slow in reacting to the incident. Reports indicate that police saw the busses pulling over to the side of the road but were unaware that it was the Taliban who had pulled them over. They initially thought the bus drivers had stopped for morning prayers.
"It would not be true if we escape from this and say that security forces were not responsible for the incident. We apologize to the people and we promise that such an incident will not happen in the future," he added.
Meanwhile, a local police force member, who helped recover the bodies of those killed in the incident, said he still clearly remembers the screams of the children and women.
"They took them [passengers] from this road and put their bodies near the river and the forest. They were soldiers that were on their way home. Civilians were also among those killed and some of them were old men," said Arbab Khoshal, a local police commander in Kunduz.
Babrak, a shopkeeper, who was close to the scene when the incident occurred, said he is shocked by the occurrence.
"Taliban came to the road at midnight and then they took the cars to the villages, near the area, and then they committed this heinous act," he added.
The route from Pul-e-Khumri City, the capital city of Baghlan, to Kunduz, where the Taliban stopped the busses, was once a safe journey to other northern provinces, but recently it has become a nightmare for those traveling to north and northeastern provinces, including Takhar and Badakhshan.