Gunmen killed 10 people and wounded 14 others in an attack on the HALO Trust Mining Organization in Afghanistan, an Afghan official said on Wednesday.
Spokesman Tariq Arian blames the Taliban for the attack on Tuesday night at the group’s camp in Baghlan Markazi district in northern Baghlan province.
The Taliban immediately denied any connection to the attack in response to an Associated Press inquiry.
HALO Trust Global Media Manager Louise Vaughan responded to the AP that 110 miners of local staff in the organization were at camp after completing their work at a nearby minefield when the “unknown armed group” opened fire on them.
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The statement said 16 of their staff were injured. Immediately, the controversy was not cleared.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs called the attack “disgusting” in a statement, adding that “aid workers and humanitarian organizations are protected under international humanitarian law”.
The UN has warned that the use of improvised explosive devices in the country will increase as conflicts become more urbanized and armed groups disperse.
Afghanistan is one of several countries where large parts of its territory are filled with bombs and landmines. Many were planted by rebels to target government military convoys. But civilian casualties are frequent.
The United Nations has repeatedly called on both government forces and the Taliban to take more steps to protect civilians. In the first three months of this year, the UN mission in Afghanistan said 1,783 civilians had been killed or wounded in Afghanistan, an increase of 29% over the same period last year.
HALO Trust is one of several mining organizations in Afghanistan clearing unexploded ordnance.
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Meanwhile, Afghanistan’s Defense Ministry says in a statement that an MI-17 helicopter has crashed due to technical problems. The crash in eastern Maidan Wardak province killed three crew members and wounded one.
But the Taliban claimed in a separate statement that the helicopter was crashed in the Jaghatu district of Maidan Wardak when it provided assistance to the security forces on the battlefield. The Ministry of Defense rejected the Taliban’s claim.