KABUL: Taliban insurgents on Saturday gunned down as many as 12 workers clearing mines in Helmand province.
The Taliban have warned that attacks will continue and in wake of the insurgents threats security in the country capital has been beefed up as most foreign troops prepare to withdraw at the end of the month, 13 years after the Sept. 11 terror attacks sparked the U.S.-led invasion.
The attack targeting the mine-clearing operation struck southern Helmand province between its Nadali and Washir districts.
The company working on the project identified as Star Link. It is said that 81 workers were at the site when the gunmen reached the spot.
Afghanistan is one of the most heavily mined countries in the world. It is estimated that some 640,000 mines have been laid there since 1979 and at least 20,500 people have been killed and wounded by such ordinance since.
Afghanistan has experienced a sharp spike in violence since President Ashraf Ghani took office in September. The attacks have been concentrated in Kabul and aimed mostly at government, military and foreign targets. Five foreign nationals have been killed in three separate attacks in Kabul in the last month.