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10 Killed 'in Cold Blood' in Mine-Clearing Camp

Taliban denies responsibility for attack on HALO Trust group in Afghanistan
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 9, 2021 9:17 AM CDT

(Newser) – The Taliban is denying responsibility for an attack in Afghanistan this week that left 10 members of a mine-clearing group dead and at least 16 injured, though the Afghan Interior Ministry is saying the hard-line movement was indeed responsible. In a statement, the HALO Trust, the organization made famous after Princess Diana walked through one of its minefields in 1997, announced that at 9:50pm local time on Tuesday, an "unknown armed group" entered one of its demining camps in Baghlan province—where about 110 men from local communities were wrapping up the day's work—opening fire and killing 10 staff members. At least 16 were also injured, the group adds.

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A Taliban spokesman denied that the militant group was behind the attack, per NBC News and the New York Times. "We condemn attacks on the defenseless & view it as brutality," Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted. "We have normal relations with NGOs, our Mujahidin will never carry out such brutal acts." And HALO Trust CEO James Cowan—who says the attackers went from "bed to bed" killing people "in cold blood"—noted that indeed, local Taliban members "came to our aid and scared the assailants off," per the BBC. A ministry spokesman tells the Times that all of the victims were Afghan citizens, and that those who were hurt were taken to hospitals, where they're being treated. (Read more Afghanistan stories.)

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