Insurgents Kill 8 Laborers, Afghan Officials Say

KABUL (TIP): Insurgents pulled over a minivan with eight young laborers on their way to work at a US base in eastern Afghanistan on july 18, forced them out and then shot them dead, officials said. The killings near Forward Operating Base Shank, a US base in Logar province, were the latest in a militant campaign of intimidation against Afghans working for the government or the international coalition.

The attack took place just after dawn near Puli Alam, the provincial capital. “They were eight ordinary laborers going to work at that base. They were day laborers,” said Logar deputy police chief Raeis Khan Abdul Rahimzai. “This is very hard to believe. It is an inhuman and un- Muslim act against innocent people.” He said the eight were heading for temporary day jobs at the base and were not part of the facility’s local staff.

The gunmen let the driver of the minivan go and did not harm him, Rahimzai said. Provincial spokesman Din Mohammad Darwesh said there were four gunmen on motorcycles who pulled over the minivan. “They just took them out of the car and shot them. They are all in their late teens and early 20’s,” Darwish said.

Both officials said it was unclear if the incident could have been in reprisal for a coalition airstrike that killed 18 Taliban fighters in another part of the province on Wednesday. Logar, located just south of Kabul, has seen a sharp increase in insurgent activity this year, The Afghan army last week carried out a large operation against insurgents operating in the province.

The Taliban have said they will not stop fighting during the holy month of Ramzan, which began last week, and will instead step up their attacks. About 1,000 Afghan civilians have been killed and more than 2,000 wounded in the first half of the year, according to the United Nations. That marked a 24 per cent increase in casualties compared to the same period last year.

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