At least 10 mine clearers working for Halo Trust in Afghanistan’s northern province of Baghlan have been shot dead. More than a dozen were wounded at the same time. The workers were killed when masked gunmen burst into their compound at 21:50 (17:20 GMT) on Tuesday, after they had spent a day removing mines from a nearby field. The HALO Trust Global Media Manager, Louise Vaughan, said that 110 de-mining local personnel of the organization were on camp after finishing their work on a minefield nearby. Interior Ministry spokesman Tareq Arian told reporters that “the Taliban entered a compound of a mine-clearing agency… and started shooting everyone”. But this affirmation was denied. “We condemn attacks on the defenceless and view it as brutality,” the militant group’s spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, tweeted.
“We have normal relations with NGOs [non-governmental organisations]. Our Mujahideen will never carry out such brutal attacks.” The attackers went “bed to bed” shooting the workers. Halo Trust and other demining organisations have been working in Afghanistan for more than three decades. It is difficult to know who carried out the attack but it’s supposed that to incite ethnic tension among Afghans was a goal. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs called the attack in “heinous” in a statement, adding that “aid workers and humanitarian organizations are protected under international humanitarian law.”