2004-06-11 16:23:12 UTC
KABUL, June 11 (IslamOnline.net & News Agencies) Former Afghan
rulers, Taliban, denied Friday, June 11, involvement in the killing of
11 Chinese workers slain in their sleep in northeast Afghanistan, the
bloodiest attack on foreigners since the U.S.-led military attack
almost three years ago.
The denial came as the bodies of the 11 reconstruction workers killed
were transferred to Kabul ahead of repatriation to China and at least
one man was arrested in relation to the savage attack, according to
Agence France-Presse (AFP)
Abdul Latif Hakimi, claiming to represent remnants of the ousted
Islamic regime, said the horrific killings "should not have happened."
"We deny the accusation of killing the Chinese workers in Kunduz
province of Afghanistan," he told AFP by telephone from an undisclosed
Kunduz province, some 250 kilometers (150 miles) north of Kabul, has
been until the Thursday attack considered one of the few safest
areas in Afghanistan.
President Hamid Karzai, in the United States to attend the G8 summit,
blamed the killings on Afghanistan's "enemies" while Foreign Minister
Abdullah Abdullah said the cold-blooded murders were carried out by
Acting President Mohammed Qasim Fahim, the Defense Minister standing
in for Karzai, said Thursday he considered "the network of Taliban,
Al-Qaeda and their allies behind the incident."
According to local Afghan police, one man has been arrested in
relation to the attack, however, China's official news agency Xinhua
said two people had been detained.
"Based on the information we received, we arrested one suspect called
Mullah Tor," near the site of the killings, Kunduz provincial police
chief Mutalib Bek told AFP.
"He was on his way towards Kunduz," when he was picked up, he said,
adding the investigation was continuing.
China's ambassador Sun Yuxi, who had traveled to the northern
province, returned to Kabul Friday along with the four injured
workers. They were taken to the International Security Assistance
Force (ISAF) hospital in the east of the capital.
The remains of the deceased are being kept in a military hospital in
The dead were among about 100 Chinese engineers, drivers, managers and
laborers sprayed with machinegun fire as they slept in tents near a
road in Kunduz province Thursday.
Ten of the dead have been identified as aged between 31 and 56, Xinhua
reported. All were from Shangrao City in eastern Jiangxi province. One
of the dead was yet to be identified.
Most of the Chinese workers, who were employed by the China Railway
Shisiju Group Corporation (CRSGC) to build a road between Kunduz and
Baghlan provinces, had arrived in Afghanistan only the previous day.
The murders in an area of Afghanistan previously considered to be one
of the safest regions in the country have reawakened fears within the
government and among observers that a resurgent Taliban could
invalidate upcoming elections.
Presidential and parliamentary polls have been set for September but
security has worsened in the south and southeast and along the border
with Pakistan because of suspected Taliban.
Director of the Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit think-tank
Andrew Wilder said it was hard to see a healthy number of voters being
registered amid the deteriorating security situation.
"If they are having attacks in Badghis and Kunduz, which are perceived
to be the safest places in Afghanistan, nowhere can be viewed as safe
anymore," he told AFP.
"It's hard to see how the U.N. and the government is going to be able
to register the numbers needed for these elections to be credible."
The attack follows the killing of three Europeans working for Medecins
Sans Frontiers along with two of their Afghan support staff on June 2
when their vehicle was ambushed and shot at in northwestern Badghis
Hakimi claimed responsibility for the attack on the medical workers
but said the Chinese had not been targeted because they were not
working for "American goals" or the U.N..
"UNAMA (the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan) is...
taking their orders from the Americans and some other organizations
such as MSF (Medecins Sans Frontiers) are working for the interests of
the Americans so they are our targets," he said.
Two weeks ago, the European Union's executive committee accused the
U.S. forces of endangering the lives of aid workers in southern
The activity of relief workers is made dangerous by U.S.-led troops in
southern Afghanistan dressing in civilian clothes and using the same
vehicles as aid agencies, European Commission spokesman Jean-Charles
Ellermann-Kingombe said Thursday, May 27.
From Washington, Karzai called on NATO-led peacekeepers to expand
their force around the country ahead of elections.
"We hope that the NATO deployment, which is being considered, will
take place before elections in parts of the country where we do not
have enough security forces," he said Thursday.