Taliban blames foes of killing mine-clearers
Peshawar, Afghanistan - An anti-Taliban group attacked two vans carrying mine-clearing workers in northwestern Afghanistan and killed seven workers, the Afghan Islamic Press reported on Monday.
An eighth worker survived the weekend attack by playing dead, the news agency said, quoting the Taliban governor of Herat province, Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwa.
Khairkhwa said the workers of the non-government Organisation for Mine-clearing and Afghan Rehabilitation (OMAR), were coming from the bordering Badghis province to Herat when the group waylaid them near Kotal-e-Sabzak.
The attackers fired shots at the two vans and then set them on fire, he said.
A routine Taliban patrol arrived at the scene after some time but was overpowered and its four members were arrested and taken away by the attackers.
Khairkhwa said the attackers were supporters of the former Herat governor, Islamil Khan, who escaped from a Taliban prison in Kandahar earlier this year.
Khairkhwa alleged that Ismail Khan was using the territory of Iran to foment trouble in Taliban-controlled areas. - Sapa-DPA