Kandahar (Agencies): Unidentified gunmen killed at least five mine-clearance workers in Afghanistan who were preparing for construction of an international gas pipeline, while one worker was kidnapped, officials said.
The $8 billion Tapi pipeline, intended to transport some 33 billion cubic metres of natural gas a year along an 1,800-km route from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan and India, is seen as vital for the future of Afghanistan’s economy.
Daoud Ahmadi, a spokesman for the governor of Kandahar province, said the demining team was working in the southern province’s Maiwand district when attacked early on Monday.
The route of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline passes through large areas under Taliban control or influence.
But when the Afghan section of the project was launched this year, the Taliban said they would cooperate because of its importance for the country.
A Taliban spokesman said the incident was being investigated, adding that victims were not wearing the usual uniform worn by Tapi workers.