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Attack on Chinese Workers in Afghanistan Condemned

Afghanistan and the United Nations condemned Thursday's terrorist attack in Kunduz Province in north Afghanistan, in which 11 Chinese construction workers were killed.  

The attack occurred at around 01:00 am local time (2030 GMT Wednesday) on a construction site 36 km south of the provincial capital of Kunduz when some 20 gunmen opened fire at Chinese workers and security guards.


This is one of the worst terrorist attacks on foreigners since the former Taliban regime was ousted late in 2001.


Afghanistan calls for more security aid


The Afghan government condemned the brutal killing, describing it as a cowardly act of terrorism, a statement issued by the office of presidential spokesman said.


Acting Afghan President Mohammed Qasim Fahim, who assumed the top role while President Hamid Karzai was visiting the United States, said Thursday he was "deeply distressed" by the killing of Chinese workers and strongly condemned "this cruel act of terror."


Blaming al-Qaeda for the attack, Fahim said that terror network of the group and its supporters were behind the incident to disrupt the ongoing rebuilding process in the country. However, al-Qaeda denied the accusation.


The group's spokesman Hamid Agha told Associated Press in a satellite call from an undisclosed location: "It doesn't have any link with the Taliban."


The acting president in the statement assured that the government would spare no efforts to identify the culprits and bring them to justice. The government has tasked a high ranking delegation to visit the site of the event and initiate a thorough investigation on the incident.


"The Acting President is also extending his condolences to Excellencies Chinese President, Chinese Premier and the families of the victims," the statement added.


Security is a serious concern in Afghanistan as the war-torn country is preparing for the presidential election in September. "We need more international security forces," Karzai told the Cable News Network (CNN).


Karzai, who is visiting the United States, said that the presidential election, which had been scheduled in June and now will take place in September, will not be postponed again. The election had been postponed not for security reasons, but for the registration problems.


Following the Kunduz raid, the ongoing voters' registration process halted in Kabul.


"As a result of sad incident in Kunduz last night, registration sites is currently closed in Kunduz," Manoel de Almeida e Silva of UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) told journalists at a news briefing in Kabul.


"We suspend it temporarily until we can have a better of understanding of what really happened and what the possible complications are," he added.


More than 3 million people have registered for the first-ever Afghan landmark elections.


UN envoy condemns attack


"The special representative is appalled by the killing of 11 Chinese construction workers last night on the outskirts of Kunduz and condemns it in the strongest possible terms," Manoel de Almeida e Silva, spokesman of UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) told reporters in Kabul.


Special Representative of UN Secretary-General (SRSG) to Afghanistan Jean Arnault notes with great sadness that this tragedy follows other serious incidents against electoral and humanitarian aid workers on May 5 in Nuristan and on June 2 and 6 in Badghis and Paktya in which eight Afghans and expatriates were killed, the spokesman added.


Arnault also conveys his condolences and expresses his sympathy to the Chinese government and to the families, friends and colleagues of the victims.


No group or individual has claimed responsibility for the latest bloody incident in Kunduz but the fugitive leaders of Taliban and their allies have vowed to disrupt any rebuilding activities run under US influence in the post-Taliban nation.


(Xinhua News Agency June 11, 2004)

China Expresses Anger over Terror Attack in Afghanistan
China Vows to Bring Terrorists to Justice
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