35 road construction workers killed, 24 injured in E. Afghanistan: official

16:58, May 20, 2011      

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An Afghan policeman guards at the attacked site in Afghanistan's Paktia province, on May 19, 2011. A total of 35 construction workers were killed and 24 injured Thursday when Taliban raided a road construction company in Afghanistan's Paktia province, spokesman for provincial administration said. (Xinhua/Hashmat)

A total of 35 construction workers were killed and 24 injured Thursday when Taliban raided a road construction company in Afghanistan's Paktia province, spokesman for provincial administration said.

"An unknown number of insurgents attacked a road construction company in Waza Zadran district Thursday at around 02:00 a.m. local time triggering a fierce fighting between the company's security guards and assailants. As a result 35 people were killed, " Rohullah Samoon told Xinhua.

However, according to Samoon, majority of the dead were guards providing security for the compound where the workers take shelter at night. "There might be some engineers and road building workers among the dead, so far the identity of casualties have not determined,"

He said the company named Galaxy Sky was a local firm which is in charge of construction of a road connecting Waza Zadran to Musa Khil district in neighboring Khost province.

He also said eight Taliban were also killed in the two-hour fighting.

Meantime, administrative chief of Waza Zadran district, Abdul Wali Zadran told Xinhua that security forces found 36 bodies including several workers and guards.

"A total of 19 people injured in the bloody attack but still another 20 people are missing and a search operation is underway to locate and find them," the district official added.

The Taliban also set fire to over a dozen vehicles and road- building equipment, he said.

On the other hand, Zabihullah Mujahid who claims to talk for Taliban said in talks with media from undisclosed location that over 100 Taliban fighters attacked the company to punish it for serving the government.

He said Taliban killed over 40 guards and workers besides blazing several vehicles and road construction tools and taking dozens of weapons from the site.

Taliban militants have in the past threaten locals to avoid working for construction projects and stop providing help for Afghan and foreign troops.

Taliban-led insurgency has been rampant since the militant group announced on April 30 to start spring offensive against Afghan and NATO-led international forces.

This is the second attack against road construction firms in eastern Afghanistan since beginning this year.

A powerful suicide car bomb attack against a local road building company, for which Taliban claimed responsibility, killed 24 workers and injured over 50 others in neighboring Paktika province late March this year.


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Source: Xinhua
 
 
     
 
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