Taliban is blamed for Afghan raid that killed 35 construction workers

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The Independent Online

Up to 200 insurgents, firing heavy- machine-guns, rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, have stormed an outpost of a construction company in Afghanistan, killing 35 and wounding 24 more. The five-hour attack began at about 1am yesterday, when a car-bomber rammed the premises of Galaxy Sky construction in the south-eastern Paktia province, according to an unconfirmed report.

Almost every one of the base's 85 guards, engineers and labourers was killed, kidnapped or wounded, in what Noorullah Bidar, owner of the Kabul-based firm, called a "brutal" attack.

Galaxy Sky has a contract to build a 28km (16-mile) road linking remote districts close to the border with Pakistan and with nearby provincial centres. Over the past two years there has been a rapid deterioration in security in the area, as tribesmen once firmly aligned with the Afghan government have grown increasingly alienated.

Mr Bidar said his workers and guards were recruited locally and blamed the Taliban for the attack.

The area falls under the sway of the Haqqani network, whose leader, Jalaluddin Haqqani, grew up in Garda Seray village a few valleys away. Taliban in Waziristan recently named construction companies as legitimate military targets.