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Six Americans Among 10 Medical Workers Killed by Taliban in Afghanistan

By Eltaf Najafizada

August 7, 2010

The bodies of six Americans, a Briton, a German and two Afghan interpreters that Taliban insurgents claim to have killed were recovered yesterday in a remote forested area of northern Afghanistan.

An Afghan identified as Sayfullah who survived the incident told police the slain foreigners were medical staff from the state-run Noor hospital in Kabul, Agha Noor Kemtuz, provincial police chief of Badakhshan province, said by telephone today.

Kemtuz said the survivor told him the group had been traveling for 15 days in Panjsher, Nuristan and Badakhshan provinces.

"Two days ago, they returned to Karan wa Manjan and stopped their vehicles to have dinner," Kemtuz quoted Sayfullah as saying. "A group of insurgents with long white and black beards and long white Afghan clothes with turbans arrived."

The insurgents searched the pockets of the group, took their money and after several minutes shot and killed them, Kemtuz said Sayfullah told police.

American citizens may have been killed by unidentified gunmen in Afghanistan, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul said today.

"We have reason to believe that several American citizens are among the deceased," Caitlin M. Hayden, spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy, said in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg today.

The embassy is working with local authorities to learn the identities and nationalities of the deceased, according to the e-mail.

The British victim was Dr. Karen Woo, a general physician, according to her website related to the expedition.

'Not Without Riskĺ

"The expedition will require a lot of physical and mental resolve and will not be without risk but ultimately, I believe that the provision of medical treatment is of fundamental importance and that the effort is worth it in order to assist those that need it most," Woo had written in a posting on the website before embarking.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed, reached by phone from an unknown location, said the group claimed responsibility for the killings of nine foreigners -- five men and four women --and a translator in the area.

"They were not doctors. They were trying to spread the Christian religion in Karan wa Manjan," Mujahed said. "And at the other hand they were spies. Our Mujahedeen people arrived there and tried to stop them, but they escaped and our Mujahedeen had to open fire on them."

The International Assistance Mission, which describes itself as an international Christian organization providing education and health aid in Afghanistan, said on its website it has been informed that 10 foreign and Afghan people, likely members of a team providing eye care in communities in Nuristan, were killed while returning to Kabul.

"This tragedy negatively impacts our ability to continue serving the Afghan people as IAM has been doing since 1966," according to a statement on the website. "We hope it will not stop our work that benefits over a quarter of a million Afghans each year."

To contact the reporter on this story: Eltaf Najafizada in Kabul at enajafizada1@bloomberg.net


:: Article nr. 68644 sent on 07-aug-2010 17:56 ECT

www.uruknet.info?p=68644

Link: www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-08-07/six-americans-among-10-medical-workers-killed-
   by-taliban-in-afghanistan.html




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