At least 10 deminers killed in Afghanistan attack
Kabul, June 9 (EFE).- An overnight militant attack has killed at least 10 Afghan civilians who worked for a land mine clearance project in the volatile northern province of Baghlan, an official said on Wednesday.
The government blamed the Taliban for the attack that also left 14 others injured.
Interior Ministry spokesperson Tariq Arian said the attack took place at 10 pm Tuesday when a group of gunmen entered a camp housing deminers in the Baghlan-e-Markazi district.
Arian told EFE that the gunmen opened fire and killed 10 people, working on a land mine clearance project for the Halo Trust demining company.
The trust, in a statement, said 110 men from local communities were in the camp at the time of the attack after having finished their work on nearby minefields.
“We strongly condemn the attack on our staff, who were carrying out humanitarian work to save lives,” said the humanitarian mine clearance group working in Afghanistan since 1988.
The interior ministry spokesperson blamed the Taliban for the attack.
He said the attack belies the Taliban’s claims of protecting civilian lives and charity employees.
“But last night, they committed a crime and shot dead deminers,” he said.
Arian said the Taliban conducted similar attacks, targeting charity and humanitarian workers in the past.
“They have attacked public welfare organizations, academic centers, religious places. They continue such crimes against all human values and rights.”
But the Taliban rejected the claim and denied they had a role to play in the attack on deminers.
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said the insurgent group had no relation in the attack.
“We condemn attacks on defenseless and view it as brutality. We have normal relations with NGOs, our (fighters) will never carry out such brutal acts.”
The war-ravaged country has vast areas infested with land mines and unexploded ordinances.
Dozens of demining NGOs are working to clear the areas.
Some of these mines are the leftovers of the past years of wars.
Insurgents also plant these explosives daily as their favorite war tactic to target Afghan security forces.
The explosives have maimed thousands of civilians during the decades of war in the country. EFE