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JALALABAD, Afghanistan (Reuters) - Suspected Islamic State militants kidnapped 12 teachers and two other staff of a religious school in the eastern Afghan province of Nangarhar, officials said.

The teachers were taken on Sunday when a group of Islamic State (IS) fighters entered the school in Haska Mina district during an examination, the education department in the provincial capital Jalalabad said.

It was not possible to confirm independently that the fighters were from IS. No group has claimed responsibility.

"We are saddened by the news and ask security departments, local elders and prominent figures in the area to help us release our teachers," the department said in a statement.

Kidnapping for both criminal ransom and political gain is a major problem in Afghanistan. Although foreigners have also been targeted, most victims are Afghans.

(Reporting by Radiq Sherzad; Editing by Randy Fabi)

Reuters