An attack on staff members of The HALO Trust, the international mine action organisation, in Afghanistan has resulted in the deaths of 10 people with a further 16 people injured – 26 casualties in total. The attack took place in Afghanistan's Baghlan Province on the evening of 8 June, and is being referred to as the most serous incident that the organisation has endured since it started work in the country in 1988.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack; however, Tariq Arian, a spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of the Interior, has blamed the Taliban. Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, denied the organisation's involvement.
In a statement issued on Wednesday (9 June), the HALO Trust said that an “unknown armed group” had entered the demining camp at 21:50 hours on Tuesday and opened fire on around 110 men from local communities who had been working in nearby minefields. “We strongly condemn the attack on our staff, who were carrying out humanitarian work to save lives,” it said.
The HALO Trust's CEO, James Cowan, published a full video statement on 9 June, paying tribute to those killed in this "genuinely horrific" attack, and promising that his organisation would continue to do its work in Afghanistan: