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Five Pakistani workers shot dead in Afghanistan

Five Pakistani construction workers have been shot dead in an ambush in southern Afghanistan, officials said on Thursday.

world Updated: Mar 04, 2010 14:01 IST

Five Pakistani construction workers have been shot dead in an ambush in southern Afghanistan, officials said on Thursday.

Another Pakistani, who was wounded in the ambush is in hospital, the senior doctor at the Mirwais hospital in Kandahar city told AFP.

The workers were ambushed on their way to work, according to the governor of Kandahar's Panjwayi district, Shah Baran.

"The workers were on their way to Panjwayi district, where they work on a road construction project, when they were ambushed and these workers were killed," Baran said.

Abdul Satar, acting head of Mirwais hospital, said five bodies were brought in.

"Gunmen ambushed them... and now five bodies and one injured Pakistani worker have been brought to our hospital," he said.
The Pakistanis were believed to have been working for a Japanese road construction firm, the name of which could not be immediately confirmed.

Kandahar was the nominal capital of Afghanistan during the 1996-2001 rule of the extremist Taliban, overthrown in a US-led invasion and then reformed to wage an insurgency now in its ninth year.

Around 121,000 US and NATO soldiers are based in Afghanistan fighting the insurgents, with another 30,000 due to be deployed, mostly to the south, by August.

A massive military campaign is currently under way in neighbouring Helmand province, aimed at driving out Taliban militants who run some regions in tandem with drug traffickers.

Afghan, US and NATO leaders have made clear that Kandahar is also slated for military clearance operations that are to pave the way for civilian control as part of a new counter-insurgency strategy aimed at ending the long war.

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