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Six workers from a mine clearance charity made famous by the late Princess Diana were killed and a further three kidnapped in western Afghanistan Thursday, a local official said. The Afghan workers were attacked as they traveled in convoy to a mined field in Kohsan district of Herat province, said police spokesperson Col. Abdul Rauf Ahmadi. Two further workers were injured in the attack. U.K.-based Halo Trust declined to comment on the news.

Police have launched an operation to rescue the abducted workers and hunt for those responsible, he added. Decades of war has left Afghanistan one of the most heavily mined countries in the world, making the work of de-miners essential to a return to normality for millions. On Wednesday, the United Nations said the number of civilian casualties in the country jumped by a quarter in the first half of 2014.


- Fazul Rahim