“Taliban kill 5 Afghans,” from the Pakistan Daily Times, with thanks to
KANDAHAR: Suspected Taliban militants ambushed and killed five Afghans working on a United States-funded project to end opium farming on Wednesday, said senior provincial official Ghulam Muhiddin.
The workers were attacked as they drove through Helmand province, said Muhiddin. Two of the victims were engineers working for Chemonics, a US-based company; one was a government engineer and the other two were a driver and a policeman employed as a security guard, he said. “Police are investigating the killings and are searching for the Taliban attackers,” Muhiddin said. Carol Yee, a senior Chemonics worker in the area, confirmed the killings. She said the men were working on a project to provide alternative livelihoods to farmers growing opium, the raw material for heroin. Hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent in Afghanistan by various organisations to persuade farmers to grow legal crops.
Afghanistan last year produced nearly 90 percent of the world’s opium, sparking warnings that it is fast becoming a dangerous “narcotics-state” less than four years after the end of its role as a haven for Al Qaeda.