Afghan mine collapse kills at least 27 workers

The deaths follow a mine collapse in December in which 11 men were believed to have died

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The Independent Online

Rescue workers in Afghanistan have recovered the bodies of 27 miners trapped underground.

The men are the latest casualties of Afghanistan's state-run mining industry, after part of the Abkhorak coal mine in which they were working collapsed.

Emergency rescue teams rushed to the mine - 300km northwest of the country's capital, Kabul - earlier today.

Mohammad Seddiq Aziz, a spokesman for the governor of the northern province of Samangan, said: "They were working in a coal mine when part of the mine collapsed on them. We are heading to the scene for further investigation." He added that 20 other miners had been injured, four of whom were in a critical condition.

Four members of the rescue teams were badly injured in the efforts, while another 14 were overwhelmed by fumes but made it safely out of the mine. An official has said the rescue teams did not have appropriate equipment.

In December, 11 miners were believed to have died in a similar incident in the northern region of Baghlan.

In 2010, the Afghan ministry of mines claimed the country was sitting on nearly $1tn (£0.63tn) of mineral reserves and resources.