An Afghan police chief says Taliban militants blocked roads in an eastern province, forcing cars to stop and kidnapping the occupants at gunpoint.

Gen. Zelmai Oryakhail, police chief of Paktia province, said Saturday a number of civilian vehicles were stopped by Taliban gunmen in Sayad Karm district early in the morning.

He says six people remain held out of the 22 initially abducted. He says police reinforcements have been deployed in an attempt to free the remaining captives.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in tweets from an account known to be associated with the group.

Afghanistan's eastern provinces long have harbored insurgent groups who wage attacks on police checkpoints.

The Taliban launched their annual spring offensive in late April. Mass kidnappings appear to be a new strategy.