Here, 10 medical workers were murdered, six of them Americans, by the Taliban who claimed that they were proselytizing Christianity.
t least 10 medical personnel, including six Americans, were murdered in northern Afghanistan on Thursday, officials confirmed Saturday. A Taliban spokesman, reached by cellphone, claimed responsibility for the killings.Who suffers most when these charitable groups are attacked and deterred from further involvement? The Afghans themselves.
The bodies from the group, which had been on an expedition to bring eye care and other medical services to remote areas, were found shot to death in a mountainous area of Badakhshan Province, according to the provincial police chief, Aka Noor Kentoz.
The International Assistance Mission, a group that last month had a fund-raiser in Kabul for a medical expedition to Nuristan Province, said six of the dead were Americans, one was German and one was British. Dirk Frans, the executive director of the I.A.M., said the team was headed by Tom Little, an American opthamologist with four decades experience in Afghanistan and a fluent Dari speaker. Mr. Frans said the team numbered 12, including four Afghans, two of whom were killed.
The victims’ bodies were stripped of all belongings, making identification difficult and suggesting robbery as a motive. However, Taliban insurgents are known to be active in the area, and the attackers allowed at least one Afghan to leave the scene unharmed. The survivor, an Afghan driver named Saifullah, told police he was let go because he recited verses from the Koran.
A spokesman for the Taliban, Zabiullah Mujahid, claimed that the medical team were shot because they ignored an order from the insurgents to stop. Afterwards, he said, they found evidence that the group were American spies and were preaching Christianity. He said they had maps showing their bases, and a Bible in Dari. Although I.A.M. is a Christian-supported group, Mr. Frans said, it does not engage in proselytizing.