At least five deminers were killed by unknown gunmen in southern Kandahar province on Monday morning, provincial police chief Gen. Abdul Raziq confirmed.
In addition, one of the deminers has been abducted by the gunmen, he said.
The incident happened in Malang Kariz area of Maiwand district while the deminers were clearing the area of IEDs. The gunmen opened fire on the group, according to Raziq.
He said the deminers had been employed by Aims De-mining Company (AMDC) and had been working to clear an area that will be part of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline project
Raziq claimed that the Taliban shot the deminers, but the Taliban have not yet commented nor claimed responsibility.
The TAPI pipeline project was agreed to by leaders of four countries a few years ago. The work on the Turkmenistan section of the project was completed earlier this year.
The 1,814-kilometer gas pipeline will pass through Afghanistan to Pakistan and India. At least 816 kilometers of the pipeline will pass through the territory of Afghanistan.
The pipeline passes through Herat, Farah, Nimroz, Helmand and Kandahar provinces of Afghanistan.
In Afghanistan, the TAPI pipeline will be constructed alongside the Kandahar–Herat Highway in western Afghanistan, and then via Quetta and Multan in Pakistan.
The final destination of the pipeline will be the Indian town of Fazilka, near its border with Pakistan.
The project will cost $22.5 billion USD and will be completed by 2019, according to President Ashraf Ghani’s Office.
Afghanistan is expected to earn more than $400 million USD in transit duties annually from the project.
According to Ghani’s Office, the project will create thousands of job opportunities for Afghans.
Afghanistan will annually get 500 million cubic meters of gas from the project in the first ten years. The amount will increase to one billion cubic meters of gas in the following ten years and 1.5 billion cubic meters of gas in the third 10 years after the completion of the project.