Turkish Worker Killed as UK's Straw Visits Kabul
Friday, March 5, 2004; 9:48 AM
By Mike Collett-White
KABUL (Reuters) - A Turkish engineer working on a
U.S.-funded road project was killed and another was kidnapped
in southern Afghanistan on Friday in an ambush officials blamed
on Islamic militants.
The attack, which coincided with a visit to Kabul by
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, was the latest to target
the U.S.-funded Kabul-Kandahar highway, the only major
reconstruction project to be completed since the Taliban's
collapse in 2001.
An Afghan security guard was also killed and a translator
kidnapped in the same ambush on their vehicle in the Shah Joy
district of the southern province of Zabul, where guerrillas
from the ousted Taliban militia have been active in recent
They have declared a "jihad," or holy war on foreign
troops, their Afghan allies and aid organizations, and have
targeted the highway that President Hamid Karzai hopes will
bring people closer together and help ostracize militants.
"This tragic incident happened just after lunch," said
Kheyal Mohammad Husseini, governor of Zabul.
"The Turkish nationals were involved in reconstruction of
the highway. Terrorists were behind this," he told Reuters.
Husseini blamed remnants of the Taliban or forces loyal to
renegade warlord and former Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.
A source at another Turkish sub-contractor working on the
road said the two Turks involved in the attack were employed by
a company named Kolin. The company and the Turkish embassy in
Kabul could not immediately be reached for comment.
"The body has just been brought to Kabul by helicopter.
They are arranging for its repatriation," he said of the dead
Taliban rebels were blamed for the kidnapping in October of
a Turkish engineer on the same road and of two Indians in
December. All three were later released.
Louis Berger Group, the U.S. firm overseeing the renovation
of the road, also had a helicopter fired on near the southern
city of Kandahar last month. The Australian pilot was killed
and two passengers -- a Briton and an American -- were wounded.
On Thursday, seven Afghan soldiers were killed by suspected
Taliban guerrillas in a rocket and machinegun attack on their
post close to the Pakistan border.
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