Killing of 11 Chinese Workers in Afghanistan

New York Times
, June 11, 2004

The massacre of 11 Chinese road construction workers and an Afghan guard as they slept in their tents early Thursday was the deadliest against foreigners since the fall of the Taliban and dealt a setback to United States efforts to stabilize the country ahead of elections scheduled for September.

The men were among more than 100 Chinese engineers and construction workers who had recently arrived in Afghanistan to work on a World Bank project to rebuild a road running north from Kabul to the Tajikistan border. Some of those killed Thursday had been in Afghanistan only a few days, the Chinese news agency reported.

The attack occurred at 1:30 a.m. about 20 miles south of Kunduz, in the normally peaceful northern part of the county, Afghan officials said. A group of some 20 gunmen in cars attacked the men as they slept, the spokesman for the Interior Ministry, Lutfullah Mashal, said.

The Afghan guard and nine Chinese men were killed immediately in the attack. Two more Chinese men died in the hospital later. Four other Chinese workers were wounded and being treated in a Kunduz hospital and by German members of a peacekeeping force based in the town, said the Kunduz police chief, Gen. Abdul Mutalibeg. A second Afghan guard was missing, he said.

"As a result of the American military," President Bush declared last week, "the Taliban is no longer in existence."

It's unclear whether Mr. Bush misspoke, or whether he really is that clueless.

The New York Times, October 1, 2004

Coming after the murder of five aid workers last week in northwestern Afghanistan, the assault, which Afghan officials attributed to the Taliban, may indicate that the gunmen are shifting their attacks to northern Afghanistan, which has been relatively free of violence. President Hamid Karzai and Gen. David Barno, the commander of the American-led forces in Afghanistan, have recently warned that attacks on aid workers, government officials and foreign military forces will increase in the months ahead of the elections. United States troop deployments have been increased recently to 20,000, in part to help with security ahead of the voting.

A senior Afghan military commander in southern Afghanistan, Hajji Mir Wali, said Mullah Dadullah, one of the top Taliban commanders, recently issued orders to his fighters to strike at road builders. ''His orders were: 'First, you have to kill engineers to stop the building of the roads. Second, you have to burn schools and spread out leaflets. Third, you have to put mines and attack government officials; and fourth, if you can, you have to attack American forces,''' Mr. Wali said. He said he was told of the orders by a member of the Taliban who was present at the meeting in which they were issued.

The Taliban did not immediately claim responsibility for the attack, as it has with previous incidents.

The United Nations suspended all movement of personnel out of Kunduz and suspended its voter registration work there, a spokesman said.

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