11 workers killed in Afghanistan

May 20 2005


KABUL, May 19: Eleven Afghans working with a US-based company in southern Afghanistan were killed in two ambushes by ‘suspected Taliban militants’, a US official said on Thursday.

Most of the victims were working for Chemonics, a US-based company engaged in irrigation projects in Afghanistan’s top poppy cultivating province of Helmand. The projects are aimed at providing opium farmers in the province with alternative livelihoods.

“It is very likely that they were employees of the same company but all of these people were not necessarily direct employees, there may have been some drivers or police killed too,” the official said.

Six Afghans were killed in an ambush in the early hours of Thursday in southern Zabul province.

They were escorting the body of one of Chemonics’s five Afghan reconstruction workers killed in a similar attack in neighbouring Helmand province a day earlier, the US official and western security sources said.

“That was our group that was travelling from Kandahar back to Kabul and they were transporting one body back to Kabul,” Susan DeCamp, spokeswoman for Chemonics, said.—AFP