The Taliban is attempting to keep the jihad alive in Afghanistan by murdering construction workers. The focus on non-combatants accord with the provisions of Islamic law that forbid killing them unless they are considered to be aiding the war effort. This is used to justify bombings on buses in Israel, and by Osama for his attacks in the U.S. From the Guardian:
An Australian helicopter pilot was killed and a British security officer seriously injured in southern Afghanistan yesterday after their team, working for an American construction company, was attacked by a gunman.
An American woman employed to build cottage hospitals was also seriously injured in the attack, while another Briton, a security guard, was unharmed, a US diplomat in Kabul said yesterday.
The diplomat said the helicopter belonged to the Louis Berger Group, an American company carrying out road-building and other construction projects in southern Afghanistan, where the remnants of the former Taliban regime and other Islamic extremist groups are active.
Mullah Mohamed Omar, the Taliban’s fugitive leader, has pronounced death penalties on anybody, Afghan or foreign, working to support the government of Hamid Karzai.
Khalid Pashtoon, a spokesman for the government of Kandahar province, where the attack occurred, said the team of four foreigners and an Afghan interpreter were inspecting a school in a remote village about 40 miles south-west of the province’s capital, Kandahar.
After inspecting the school, the team boarded the helicopter, which was then attacked by a man with a Kalashnikov rifle. He fled after killing the pilot and injuring two other foreigners.
“The helicopter had not taken off when it was attacked,” said Mr Pashtoon.
Abdul Samad, a man claiming to speak for the Taliban, told the Associated Press news agency that the militia was responsible for the attack.
American troops, more than 10,000 of whom are stationed in Afghanistan, airlifted the wounded to Kandahar airbase, where they were being treated, the diplomat in Kabul said.
Louis Berger group has been awarded some of the most lucrative reconstruction contracts in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban two years ago.
This includes a $250m (Â£135m) contract to resurface one of the country’s main roads, which runs from Kabul to Kandahar, but the project has been blighted by the Taliban’s frequent kidnapping of foreign and Afghan workers.
More than 550 people have died in an insurgency blamed on the militia in less than seven months, and Taliban fighters have vowed to step up the campaign in the run-up to democratic elections in June.