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New terror network attacked Chinese workers
By Guo Nei (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-06-14 08:38

The military commander of northeastern Afghanistan said a new terrorist network of 14 gunmen were involved in the Thursday attack that killed 11 Chinese construction workers and wounded four others in Kunduz province in northern Afghanistan.

An Afghan police officer inspects the scene where Chinese railway workers were gunned down in their sleep by unknown attackers in Had Bakhshi of northern Afghanistan June 10, 2004. Eleven Chinese workers died and four were injured. It was the worst attack on foreigners since the fall of the Taliban regime. [AFP]
Lieutenant General Mohammad Daud said two more suspects were arrested on Saturday. Two others were arrested on Friday. Meanwhile, six more were netted yesterday, bringing the total of detainees to 10.

The men "are all from Baghlan Province," Xinhua reported.

"These people in the past belonged to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's party, and they later joined the Taliban," he said.

However, shortly after the tragedy, the Taliban denied participation.

The general said a new terrorist network planned the brutal killings.

"They came in two vehicles and escaped after the attacks," he said.

Daud said more soldiers, as many as the Chinese need, would be sent to ensure the construction workers' safety and security.

However, he could not give any more details since the investigation is ongoing.

A 14-member emergency group led by China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) leaders, the company that employed the workers killed, arrived in Kabul on Saturday to deal with the aftermath of the attack.

CRCC Deputy President Li Guorui said his company will not retreat or bow to terrorists and the construction work will go on but security for the road construction workers must be beefed up.

The injured workers are in stable condition at hospital. The remaining workers are now back to Kunduz. They can choose to stay in Afghanistan to work or return to China.

According to sources with CRCC, the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force will arrange two special planes to bring back the bodies of 11 dead workers and the injured today.

The plane with bodies will take off from Urumuqi, in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and return to Nanchang, capital city of Jiangxi Province, the hometown of the 10 victims.

The injured will be sent to Jinan, capital of East China's Shandong Province for better treatment.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also sent a working group to Afghanistan on Saturday to work with the Afghan Government and UN agencies in Afghanistan.

CRCC has also dispatched teams to the victim's hometowns, Jiangxi and Shandong provinces.

Each family of the 11 dead received 3,000 yuan(US$361) as the first batch of pension payments while the five injured got 2,000 yuan (US$242).

Further compensation is in the works.

Some 3,000 people in the capital of Takhar, an old Taliban stronghold, that neighbours Kunduz province, took part in a demonstration over the weekend to show their support for the Chinese.

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