GHAZNI CITY/MAIMANA (PAN): Sixteen youth were killed while harvesting opium poppies in southern Helmand province, officials said on Sunday.
The victims hailed from Qarabagh and Aab Band districts of southern Ghazni province, the Qarabagh district chief, Fazal Rahman Nazarwal, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
He said the men were laid to rest in their hometowns on Saturday. While pricking poppy pods in Helmand, they came under militant attack, the official added.
A resident of the Askarkot area of Qarabagh, Abdul Bari, said eight of men had been killed on Friday and their bodies brought to the province on Saturday.
Witness Alauddin, who managed to escape unhurt, said that they were harvesting opium poppies in the Baran area of Greshk district, where eight masked gunmen attacked them.
Twenty labourers were killed and wounded in the assault, he continued. With no claim of responsibility for the incident so far, Helmand officials said they were unaware of the incident.
Separately, one civilian and two security personnel were shot dead by unidentified gunmen in the northern province of Faryab on Saturday..
Abdul Sattar, a former employee of the CIP organisation supported by US forces, was killed in the Khairabad area of Dawlatabad district, said the administrative head of the town, Abdul Salam Nazhat.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the murder, saying that Sattar was a commander of a tribal militia operating in the area.
Nazhat said the Taliban also killed a policeman who was returning from Sabz Posh district to his duty station in Dawlatabad.
In the Shirin Tagab district of Faryab, a 40 years old civilian was killed by armed men on Saturday when he went to mountains to collect firewood, said the district chief, Syed Loqman.