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Islamic State affiliate kills 10 at mine-clearing camp

A HALO Trust worker is taken by ambulance to Kabul for medical treatment after militants stormed their camp on Tuesday. An affiliate of the Islamic State took responsibility for the attack Wednesday. Photo by Ajmal Omari/EPA-EFE
A HALO Trust worker is taken by ambulance to Kabul for medical treatment after militants stormed their camp on Tuesday. An affiliate of the Islamic State took responsibility for the attack Wednesday. Photo by Ajmal Omari/EPA-EFE

June 10 (UPI) -- The Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan has taken responsibility for the overnight deaths of 10 people at the HALO Trust camp in a shooting incident in Baghlan province on Tuesday.

The militant group, known as IS-K, injured 16 others, going "bed-to-bed" shooting members as they slept, HALO CEO James Cowan told CNN. He said about 110 men from local communities were part of the camp.

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Cowan said during the shooting the suspects demanded to know who members of the Shiite Hazara ethnic minority were. Hazara members have been sought out in the past in IS-K attacks, including a shooting at a girl's school in Kabul where 85 were killed.

The HALO Trust is a nonprofit that has been clearing minefields throughout Afghanistan.

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"We strongly condemn the attack on our staff, who were carrying out humanitarian work to save lives," a statement from HALO said. "We are focused now on the care of the injured staff and supporting the families affected."

At the time of the attack at Baghlan, located about 100 miles northwest of Kabul, no one took responsibility. Cowan said local Taliban members assisted in helping HALO members, adding they came "to our aid and scared off the assailants," National Public Radio reported.

"It is repugnant that an organization that works to clear landmines and other explosives and better the lives of vulnerable people could be targeted," Ramiz Alakbarov, a United Nations humanitarian coordinator, said in a statement. "We call for a full investigation to ensure that those responsible for any violations are held accountable and brought to justice."

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