Hazara deminers

Armed men murdered Hazara deminers in “cold blood”, says HALO Trust CEO

Of more than 100 workers of the HALO Trust, armed men have singled out Hazara deminers and shot them dead in “cold blood”, according to organization’s CEO James Cowan.

Masked gunmen stormed into the worker’s compound around 09:50 PM on Tuesday killing 10 deminers and wounding 16 others. “A group of armed men came to our camp and sought out members of the Hazara community, and then murdered them,” the BBC World Service quoted Mr. Cowan as saying. “This was not expected. The broader security situation [in Afghanistan] is understood, but this kind of cold-blooded killing was not expected.”

Soon after the attack, the Afghan officials blamed the Taliban but the group rejected and denounced.

Mr. Cowan has underlined that the company has a long history of operating in Afghanistan, even during the Taliban rule, and it currently operates in areas controlled by the two sides of the conflict, the Afghan government and the Taliban.

As per his account, the Taliban even rushed to help the deminers and “scared the assailants off”. According to the organization’s CEO, the attackers fled to an area which is “not controlled by the Taliban” after killing the deminers.

Video footage of those who survived the attacks have been released to social media in which they confirm the assailants sought out for Hazara workers saying that they were from the “Islamic State” – another acronym of the ISKP.

The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has condemned the attack calling on the conflicting parties – the Afghan government and the Taliban – to safeguard humanitarians in areas they control. “Yet it is clear that certain parties & people within their ranks are deliberately targeting them.” UNAMA said in its statement issued yesterday, Wednesday, June 09.

Amid a surge in the level of violence across the country after May 01, start of the foreign troop’s withdrawal, Afghanistan’s Hazara community has been targeted in some deadly attacks.

As many as 90 civilians, mostly Hazaras school girl students aged 13 to 18, were killed and around 240 others wounded in a deadly car bombing in western neighborhood of the capital Kabul. The incident took place on May 08 and no group claimed responsibility for the attack.

A large number of social media users call for national and international recognition of the systematic threats against Hazaras as a “genocide” by launching the hashtag campaign #StopHazaraGenocide last Saturday, June 05. The hashtag trended in Afghanistan and some neighboring countries.

A timeline developed over the targeted attacks against the community suggest that hundreds of Hazaras have been killed along the highways, inside mosques, hospitals, schools, and other public spaces and thousands have been wounded since July 2014.