Officials: At least 24 Afghans killed in northern coal mine tunnel collapse

Officials say a tunnel collapse in a coal mine in Afghanistan's north has killed at least 24 workers and left three missing.

Provincial government spokesman Sediqullah Azizi said Sunday that 20 more were injured.

The accident occurred Saturday in Ruyi Du Ab district of Samangan province, one of the safer parts of the country from the standpoint of insurgency-related violence.

Aminullah, a police official who like many Afghans goes by one name, says more than 1,000 area residents rushed to help, using shovels to try to rescue the workers.

Workplace safety standards are poor in Afghanistan as in many developing nations, and such accidents are common.

The government hopes to develop a wealth of mineral resources on its territory, a challenging goal as it battles a Taliban insurgency.