Associated Press

Kabul, June 10:

Gunmen stormed a camp of sleeping Chinese road workers in northern Afghanistan today, killing at least 10 of them, officials said, in the deadliest attack on foreign civilians since the fall of the Taliban. The killings cast fresh doubt on the country’s readiness for elections slated for September. The UN halted voter registration in the area and told staff to stay off the roads. The contractors were attacked at their camp in a patch of desert near Jalaw Gir in Kunduz province, officials said. Mutaleb Beg, the Kunduz police chief, said six to eight assailants killed an Afghan guard and then raked the Chinese men with gunfire as they slept in two tents. “They died in their beds, most of them with stomach and head wounds.”

He said 10 Chinese died. But peacekeepers said 11 Chinese were killed and 16 wounded. Xinhua said the killing was “a terrorist attack” by a group of about 20 assailants. Beg said no one had been arrested, but speculated that supporters of renegade ex-Afghan prime minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar were behind the attack.