Gunmen kill 8 deminers, injure 3 in east Afghanistan

Photo: Gunmen kill 8 deminers, injure 3 in east Afghanistan / Other News

Unidentified gunmen have shot dead eight deminers and wounded three others in Afghanistan's eastern province of Logar, Press TV reported.

Local officials said the incident took place around 11:00 a.m. local time (0630 GMT) on Tuesday, when the deminers' vehicle came under attack in Mohammad Agha district of the province, located about 35 kilometers (21 miles) south of the capital Kabul.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but suspicion quickly fell on the Taliban as the militants have been targeting demining experts, particularly in Afghanistan's volatile southern provinces.

The slain deminers were working for the Mine Detection Center.

The non-governmental organization was established in June 1989 and has been active in clearing operations of mines and unexploded explosive devices under the auspices of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance to Afghanistan (UNOCHA).

President Hamid Karzai strongly condemned the incident in a statement, extending his condolences to the families of the victims and praying for the quick recovery of those injured.

Demining agencies have detected and destroyed millions of landmines and other explosive remnants of war (ERWs) in Afghanistan over the past three decades, but in some parts of the country landmines and ERWs still kill and maim dozens of people every month.

Over 14,000 people are reportedly working for demining organizations in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan, a signatory to the Ottawa Convention on Landmines, has already destroyed all its landmine stockpiles and has stopped importing and using them.

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