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A group of 10 medical aid workers have been found shot dead in a remote northern province of Afghanistan

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  • A group of 10 medical aid workers have been found shot dead in a remote northern province of Afghanistan

    Briton among eight doctors 'killed by Taliban'

    A group of eight doctors, including British doctor Karen Woo, have been found shot dead alongside three bullet-riddled cars in a remote northern province of Afghanistan.

    By Ben Farmer
    Published: 7:58AM BST 07 Aug 2010


    The medics were British, German and American. Two Afghans were also found dead with the three women and five men, the local police chief said.

    The Taliban claimed responsibility for the killing of "nine Christian missionaries" in northern Afghanistan after the bodies were found in dense forest.

    "Yesterday (Friday) at around 8am, one of our patrols confronted a group of foreigners. They were Christian missionaries and we killed them all," said Zabihullah Mujahed, a spokesman for the Taliban.

    The group have a record for claiming responsibility for attacks in which they were not involved.

    Mujahed said the group were lost and killed as they tried to escape.

    "They were carrying Persian language bibles, a satellite-tracking device and maps," he said.


    An Afghan man called Saifullah survived the attack after persuading the attackers not to execute him by reciting verses of the Quran.

    Gen Kemtuz said Saifullah had testified that the doctors had been lined up, searched and robbed before being gunned down with AK-47s.
    Saifullah was driven away as a captive before being released.

    The dead were believed to be medical workers on an eye care mission from International Assistance Mission (IAM), a Christian charity specialising in health and economic development.

    A statement from IAM said: "We have been informed that 10 people, both foreign and Afghan, were murdered in Badakhshan.

    "It is likely that they are members of the International Assistance Mission (IAM) eye camp team.

    "The team had been in Nuristan at the invitation of communities there. After having completed their medical work the team was returning to Kabul.


    Read more:
    "Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."
    -Nelson Mandela

  • #2
    Re: A group of eight doctors have been found shot dead in a remote northern province of Afghanistan

    Press Release 1 International Assistance Mission

    On the death of 10 of the 12 Nuristan Eye Camp team members
    (9 August 2010, Kabul, Afghanistan)

    Representatives of the local and international press, from various Government Ministries, ladies and gentlemen,

    As-salaam alaikum and good afternoon.

    Today we are here to bring you sad news. It is now confirmed that the bodies of the 10 people found in Badakhshan on Friday were those of our missing Nuristan Eye Camp team. This is a sad day, particularly for the relatives and friends of those killed. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of them. We pray that they will find strength in their faith and in their communities to bear this unbelievable loss.

    IAM has worked in Afghanistan since 1966. We have about 500 Afghan colleagues and 50 international colleagues. Until last Thursday, none of our Afghan colleagues had ever been killed while on duty with IAM. In those 44 years, we have lost four international staff members. One woman was shot and killed in 1971 while she and her colleagues were having a picnic at Qarghah Lake. In the mid 70s, an engineer was killed in a strange car accident. In 1980, a Finnish couple were brutally murdered during a robbery at their home.

    Today, we remember ten more colleagues who were killed on Thursday August They were members of the IAM Nuristan Eye Camp team who had just trekked one hundred miles back through the Hindu Kush mountains, giving eye care to some of the poorest and most remote communities in Afghanistan:

    Name Nationality Status

    Mahram Ali Afghan Confirmed dead

    Cheryl Beckett USA Confirmed dead

    Daniela Beyer German Confirmed dead

    Brian Carderelli USA Confirmed dead

    Jawed Afghan Confirmed dead

    Dr Tom Grams USA Confirmed dead

    Glen Lapp USA Confirmed dead

    Dr Tom Little USA Confirmed dead

    Dan Terry USA Confirmed dead

    Dr Karen Woo UK Confirmed dead

    Thankfully, two of our Afghan eye camp team members survived, Mr. Said Yasin and Safiullah.

    We want to pay tribute to each of our colleagues who died, to their commitment to serve the Afghan people. Those who have known them and seen them at work can do nothing put pay the highest tribute to them. Over the next few days and weeks, there will no doubt be many news articles about the lives of these individuals. They will speak for themselves.

    In some news articles, the people on this team have been described as ‘saints.’ This is not how they saw themselves. They were basically selfless professionals willing to spend their lives and energy in a meaningful way. All of them volunteered to be on this team. Many people worldwide are interested in hearing more about them but I would ask the journalists here to please respect the fact that the families only heard last night that their dearly loved family members were confirmed dead. Please respect their need for privacy and time to grieve.

    Before closing I would like to answer three questions. The first is whether the Nuristan Eye Camp Team had permission from the government to do this camp. The answer is YES. We have copies of the permission letter for you, both of the original letter in Dari and the English translation.

    The second question is whether the team was proselytizing and distributing Dari Bibles. IAM is a Christian organization – we have never hidden this. Indeed, we are registered as such with the Afghan government. Our faith motivates and inspires us - but we do not proselytize. We abide by the laws of Afghanistan. We are signatures of the Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs Disaster Response Programmes, in other words, that, “aid will not be used to further a particular political or religious standpoint.” But more than that, our record speaks for itself. IAM would not be invited back to villages if we were using aid as a cover for preaching. And in particular, this specific camp led by Tom Little, a man with four decades experience in Afghanistan, has led eye camps for many years to Nuristan – and was welcomed back every time.

    The third question is how this tragedy is going to affect IAM’s work. It has already affected us. Both the Afghans and internationals among us are devastated. Most of our colleagues knew the majority of the team members personally. The depth of the loss will only now begin to sink in.

    The work of the NOOR eye care programme will certainly be affected as two of the four international staff are lost. Tom, the team leader of the eye camp, was the driving force behind much of what has been achieved in eye care in Afghanistan. He is irreplaceable.

    An important factor that will influence IAM’s future is the question who committed these murders. We have the assurance that the Ministry of Interior of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, the FBI and others involved in the investigation will do whatever they can to find out who committed this crime. As things stand right now, IAM is not thinking of withdrawing from Afghanistan. Our NGO has worked here for well over four decades. And we remember that there were times when security was much worse than it is now.

    IAM works in Afghanistan as the guest of the people and the government. As long as we are welcome here, we will, God-willing, continue to stay and serve the Afghan people.

    More information about those killed:

    Mahram Ali, 50, Wardak, Afghanistan
    Mahram Ali worked as a watchman at NOOR’s maintenance workshop since the end of 2007. He stayed guarding the vehicles in Nawa when the rest of the team walked over the pass into Nuristan. He leaves behind a wife and 3 children, at secondary school age and below.

    Cheryl Beckett, 32, Ohio, USA
    Cheryl Beckett was working as an aid worker in Afghanistan since 2005 and had been involved in community development with a focus on nutritional gardening and mother-child health. She had been asked to assist the IAM medical team as a translator for women patients. Cheryl was a Pashto speaker who worked in a clinic in Pul-e Charkhi on the outskirts of Kabul. She is survived by her parents and 3 siblings.

    Daniela Beyer, 35, Chemnitz, Germany
    Daniela was a linguist and a translator in German, English, and Russian. She also spoke Dari and was learning Pashto. She worked for IAM between 2007-2009 doing linguistic research and joined the eye camp so that she could translate for women patients. She is survived by her parents and 3 siblings.

    Brian Carderelli, 25, Pennsylvania, USA
    Brian Carderelli was a professional free-lance videographer. Brian served a number of other organizations in Afghanistan active in development and humanitarian efforts throughout the nation. Brian quickly fell in love with the Afghan people and culture and hoped to stay within the country for another year.

    Jawed, 24, Panjshir, Afghanistan
    Jawed was employed as cook at the Ministry of Public Health’s Eye Hospital in Kabul and had been released from there in order to attend the Eye Camp. He leaves behind a wife and three children below school age. Besides being the team’s cook, he also assisted with the dispensing of eyeglasses. Jawed had been on several eye camps into Nuristan in the past, and was well loved for his sense of humour.

    Dr Tom Grams, USA
    Dr Tom Grams was a dentist and personal friend of Dr Tom Little and had come to Afghanistan specifically for this trip to Nuristan.

    Glen Lapp, 40, Pennsylvania, USA
    Glen trained as an intensive-care nurse and worked in Lancaster, New York City City and Supai, Arizona, and had previously worked in the responses to hurricanes Katrina and Rita. He came to Kabul in 2008, and initially worked in the IAM HQ. Then after 5 months of Dari language training he began his work with NOOR, he was responsible for organising the mobile eye camps that reached the remote areas of Afghanistan.

    Dr Tom Little, 61, from New York, USA.
    Tom was affectionately known as “Mister Tom” amongst the many staff at the National Organisation for Ophthalmic Rehabilitation (NOOR). He arrived in 1976, with his family, and worked as an Optometrist and Manager at NOOR, setting up clinics and ophthalmic workshops. He was much loved by both foreigners and Afghans, and was the inspiration for other IAM team members coming to Afghanistan. Tom leaves behind his wife and 3 daughters.

    Dan Terry, 63, Wisconsin, USA
    Dan came to Afghanistan in 1971, he had a heart for the rural areas of Afghanistan and worked for many years in Lal-wa Sarjangal. Dan specialised in relating to local communities and liaising with aid organisations and the government to improve services in remote areas. Dan is survived by his wife, 3 daughters, and one granddaughter.

    Dr Karen Woo UK
    Karen was a General Surgeon who came on the Nuristan Eye Camp to be the team doctor and to bring maternal health care to the communities in Nuristan.

    To see photographs of most of these people please go here.

    Dirk R Frans
    Executive Director
    International Assistance Mission

    P.S. For more information on IAM and its work see the IAM website.
    P.P.S For more information please contact
    or Warrick Gilbert at +93 (0)799 755 105
    Last edited by Pathfinder; August 9, 2010, 08:27 AM. Reason: New information added to press release
    "Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."
    -Nelson Mandela


    • #3
      Re: A group of eight doctors have been found shot dead in a remote northern province of Afghanistan

      UN ?shocked and appalled? at killings of medical workers in Afghanistan

      Special Representative Staffan de Mistura addresses press in Kabul [File Photo]

      9 August 2010 ? All United Nations staff in Afghanistan are ?shocked and appalled? at the killing of ten medical workers in the northeast of the Asian nation, a senior world body official said today, calling for the protection of international health-care workers as they provide life-saving services.

      The ten people killed on 5 August in Badakhshan were part of a group known as the International Assistance Mission, which has had an office in the area for many years and is known for bringing medical services to remote villages across Afghanistan.

      ?The United Nations condemns this serious crime and apparent cold-blooded execution,? Staffan de Mistura, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon?s Special Representative, said in a press statement.

      ?These were individuals who came to Afghanistan or were Afghans working in their own country to help the poorest and most vulnerable,? he stressed.

      Mr. de Mistura underscored the need for health workers, who must be able to carry out their work without fear, to have access to those who need help. Under international law, he said, health workers must be protected as they carry out their work.

      ?All those involved in this and other incidents targeting health workers should respect the value of human life,? he said, expressing his condolences to the families, friends and colleagues left behind after the tragic incident.
      "Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."
      -Nelson Mandela


      • #4
        Re: A group of eight doctors have been found shot dead in a remote northern province of Afghanistan

        <OBJECT id=sIFR_replacement_0 class=sIFR-flash title="Big Grin" border=0 alt="" classid="clsid</OBJECT>Killing of Medical Aid Workers in Afghanistan

        <!-- END TITLE -->

        Hillary Rodham Clinton
        Secretary of State

        Washington, DC

        August 8, 2010

        <HR class=separator>
        On Friday, Afghan police officers discovered the bodies of 10 medical aid workers who were killed in the northern Badakhshan Province. Six were American. The Taliban has proudly claimed responsibility for this despicable act of wanton violence.

        These men and women were in the region to deliver free medical care to impoverished Afghan villagers, according to the NGO they were working with. They were doctors, nurses, and medical technicians, and their mission was humanitarian and wholly independent from that of any government. Before their deaths, they had spent several days treating cataracts and other eye conditions in the Nuristan Province. At their next stop, they planned to run a dental clinic and offer maternal and infant health care. They were unarmed. They were not being paid for their services. They had traveled to this distant part of the world because they wanted to help people in need. They were guests of the Afghan people.

        The Taliban stopped them on a remote road on their journey from Nuristan, led them into a forest, robbed them, and killed them.

        We are heartbroken by the loss of these heroic, generous people. We condemn in the strongest possible terms this senseless act. We also condemn the Taliban?s transparent attempt to justify the unjustifiable by making false accusations about their activities in Afghanistan.

        Terror has no religion, and these acts are rejected by people all over the world, including by Muslims here in the United States. The Taliban?s cruelty is well-documented. Its members have assassinated tribal elders and thrown acid in the face of young girls. Earlier this summer, they accused a 7-year-old boy of spying and **** him. With these killings, they have shown us yet another example of the lengths to which they will go to advance their twisted ideology.

        The murdered medical aid workers, as well as the volunteers from many nations and the international coalition working to establish stability in Afghanistan, represent exactly what the Taliban stands against: a future of peace, freedom, opportunity, and openness, where all Afghans can live and work together in harmony, free from terror.

        That is what we are working to achieve in Afghanistan, in partnership with the Afghan people. As we mourn the loss of these aid workers, we will continue with our own efforts, inspired by their example.

        PRN: 2010/1075
        "Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."
        -Nelson Mandela