The Afghan Taliban’s spring offensive against the state has taken another deadly turn, with the murder of at least 35 construction workers in an ambush in the eastern part of the country, according to reports.

Another twenty road laborers were wounded in the attack by Taliban gunmen.

The massacre was the worst single attack by the Taliban in Afghanistan since they killed 42 people in an attack on a bank in Jalalabad in February.

A large group of Taliban attacked a road construction company in Paktia province, Paktia provincial spokesman Rohullah Samoon said, according to Agence France Presse.

The spokesman told the BBC that eight of the Taliban insurgents were killed in the ensuing gunfire that took place in a mountainous area on the highway that connects Paktia with the Khost province, near the Pakistan border.

The Taliban claimed a higher death toll.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a spokesman for the Taliban, told media his group killed 40 people and burnt four vehicles.

According to media reports, construction and road workers make easy targets for Taliban gunmen, particularly in the remote regions of the country where they and other insurgents reign supreme.

Last December, four Turkish road workers were kidnapped by Taliban insurgents.

Taliban are also believed to impose illegal “taxes” on construction companies in areas they control.

More importantly, the Taliban is determined to undermine the government of President Hamid Karzai by attacking any arm of the administration, as well as through the murders and kidnapping of foreign workers and NATO troops.

By July, the 130,000 or so foreign soldiers will start a gradual withdrawal from the troubled country.