10 charity workers killed in attack in Afghanistan

10 charity workers killed in attack in Afghanistan
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Ten charity workers were killed and 16 others were wounded in Afghanistan when gunmen opened fire on a mine-clearing organization that’s been working in the country for decades. 

The HALO Trust said in a statement Wednesday that the attack occurred late Tuesday night when about 110 local workers were in the camp.

“We strongly condemn the attack on our staff, who were carrying out humanitarian work to save lives,” the group said. “We are [focused] now on care of the injured staff and supporting the families affected.”

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The HALO Trust said it did not know who was behind the attack.

Tariq Arian, a spokesperson for the Afghan Interior Ministry, blamed the attack on the Taliban, but the group denied any responsibility in the shooting. 

“We condemn attacks on the defenseless & view it as brutality. We have normal relations with NGOs, our Mujahidin will never carry out such brutal acts,” the group said

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The HALO Trust has been working to clear out land mines in Afghanistan for decades. The country is littered with the weapons after 40 years of conflict between Afghans and various foreign militaries.

The group says it has made safe 80 percent of Afghanistan’s “recorded minefields and battlefields.”

Concerns over a rise in violence in Afghanistan have bubbled up amid a spike in clashes between the Afghan military and the Taliban since President BidenJoe BidenBriahna Joy Gray: White House thinks extending student loan pause is a 'bad look' Biden to meet with 11 Democratic lawmakers on DACA: report Former New York state Senate candidate charged in riot MORE made the U.S. withdrawal announcement. The Pentagon has set a Sept. 11 deadline for a full withdrawal, but the retreat is proceeding ahead of schedule.

Witnesses told The New York Times that the attackers appeared to search for members of the minority Hazara Shia group in the camp. The Hazaras have been frequently targeted by the ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan, including during an attack at a school in May that killed more than 80 people.