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Taliban kill eight Afghan workers en route to US base

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    US soldiers patrol in Logar province, Afghanistan, on October 11, 2012. Taliban gunmen have shot dead eight Afghan civilians on their way to jobs at a US military base south of Kabul, officials said.AFP/File

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    US soldiers patrol in Logar province, Afghanistan on October 13, 2012. Around 100,000 US-led NATO troops in Afghanistan are preparing to withdraw from the country by the end of next year, after key presidential polls scheduled for April.AFP/File

Taliban gunmen on Thursday shot dead eight Afghan civilians on their way to jobs at a US military base south of Kabul, officials said.

"Eight Afghan workers who were working in Camp Shank were killed this morning by Taliban," said the deputy police chief in Logar province, Rais Khan Sadeq.

It was the deadliest attack since Afghanistan started observing the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, traditionally a time of prayer and charity.

"They were forced out of their car and taken about 200 metres off road to a nearby village, and shot in the head one by one," he told AFP.

Their bodies were found with their eyes blindfolded, the police official said, describing them as "ordinary civilian workers" on the base.

US and NATO military bases across Afghanistan hire local staff to work on construction projects and as cleaners.

Din Mohammad Darvish, the Logar administration spokesman, confirmed the incident and said the bodies of the victims were recovered in the village.

"They were poor and ordinary workers, all civilians," he said.

Afghan officials blamed the attack on the Taliban. Logar is a stronghold for the militants waging a 12-year insurgency against the Western-backed government after being toppled in a 2001 US-led invasion.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the Taliban have vowed to increase their attacks during Ramadan. The insurgents have stepped up attacks on Afghan forces since they took responsibility for national security last month.

In the north, police said Taliban attacked a police post near the city of Kunduz, killing two officers and wounding two others -- the only four on duty at the time.

Around 100,000 US-led NATO troops in Afghanistan are preparing to withdraw from the country by the end of next year, after key presidential polls scheduled for April.