Gunmen killed 10 people and injured 14 in an attack on the HALO Trust in Afghanistan, an Afghan ministry official said on Wednesday.
Spokesman Tariq Arian blamed the Taliban for Tuesday’s attack on the group’s camp in the Baglan Markazi area of northern Baglan province.
The Taliban immediately denied any connection to the attack in response to a request from the Associated Press.
HALO Trust media manager Louise Vaughn, in response to the AP, said that 110 local employees of the organization’s demining organization were in the camp after finishing their work in a nearby minefield when the “unknown armed group” discovered fire on them.
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The statement said 16 of their staff were injured. The contradictions were not immediately cleared.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs called the attack “disgusting” in a statement, adding that “humanitarian workers and humanitarian organizations are protected under international humanitarian law”.
The United Nations has warned that the use of improvised explosive devices in the country is increasing as conflicts become more urbanized and armed groups grow.
Afghanistan is one of the few countries where large parts of its territory are littered with bombs and landmines. Many were planted by rebels to target government military convoys. But civilian casualties are common.
The United Nations has repeatedly called on government forces and the Taliban to take more precautionary measures to protect the civilian population. In the first three months of this year, the UN mission in Afghanistan said 1,783 civilians were killed or wounded in Afghanistan, an increase of 29% over the same period last year.
HALO Trust is one of several demining organizations in Afghanistan that clears unexploded ordnance.
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A statement from Afghanistan’s defense ministry, meanwhile, said the MI-17 helicopter had crashed due to technical problems. The crash in the eastern province of Maidan Wardak killed three crew members and injured one.
But in a separate statement, the Taliban claimed that the helicopter was shot down in the Jagatu district of Maidan Vardak because it had provided assistance to security forces on the battlefield. The defense ministry has denied the Taliban’s claim.