Afghan forces free 149 people taken hostage by Taliban

Government forces in Afghanistan managed to free 149 people-- including women and children--who were abducted by the Taliban just hours earlier in the province of Kunduz.

Nasrat Rahimi, deputy spokesman for the Interior Ministry, says the insurgents still hold 21 others hostage following their ambush of a convoy of buses traveling in the Khan Abad district on Monday.

Mohammad Yusouf Ayubi, the head of the provincial council in Kunduz province, said the insurgents stopped the buses near Khan Abad district.

Ayubi believes the Taliban were looking for government employees or members of the security forces.

The attack occured despite President Ashraf Ghani's call for a cease-fire with the Taliban during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

In a message released on the occasion of Eid al-Adha -- and without pointing to any cease-fire -- the Taliban leader said on Saturday that the insurgents remain committed to "Islamic goals," the sovereignty of Afghanistan and ending the war.

Abdul Rahman Aqtash, police chief in neighboring Takhar province, says the passengers were fram Badakhshan and Takhar provinces and were traveling to the capital, Kabul.

There was no comment from the Taliban but the area of the incident is under Taliban control.

"So far, there is no news on the fate of the passengers, but tribal elders and local officials are trying to negotiate with the Taliban," Ayubi added.

The Associated Press contributed to this report