British Doctor & Nine Others Killed in Taliban Ambush
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Uploaded on Aug 7, 2010
British aid worker Karen Woo was among the foreign medics found shot dead in northern Afghanistan, Sky News understands.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is "urgently investigating" reports of a British national among the bodies found alongside three bullet-riddled, four-wheeled drive vehicles in Badakhshan province.
It is believed that Dr Woo was travelling with six Americans, a German and two Afghans who were found the dead in a remote forest in Kuran wa Minjan district.
Provincial police chief General Agha Noor Kemtuz said the only survivor of the attack had described how the victims were ambushed, then lined up and shot.
The doctors had spent several nights in the forest travelling between Badakhshan and Nuristan provinces, according to the account of "Saifullah", who says he was released by the men without being hurt.
"On the last day they were confronted by a group of armed men who lined them up and shot them. Their money and belongings were all stolen," said Gen Kemtuz.
"Saifullah" said he escaped death by reading verses of the Koran, prompting the men to realise he was a Muslim and release him in neighbouring Nuristan.
The police chief said local villagers had warned the group not to enter the dangerous forested area, but they had insisted they would be safe because they were doctors.
The bodies of the foreigners were found in Badakhsha
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed claimed responsibility for the attack, saying: "Yesterday at around 8am, one of our patrols confronted a group of foreigners. They were Christian missionaries and we killed them all."
Mujahed said the group consisted of nine foreigners - five men and four women - and an Afghan national.
They were carrying Persian-language Bibles, a satellite tracking device and maps, he added.
Director Dirk Frans believes the foreigners were medics who had been volunteering for his International Assistance Mission charity at an eye hospital in Nuristan.
He said the group of five American men and three women - an American, Briton and German - had decided to drive through Badakhshan to Kabul as they thought it would be the safest route.
Among the dead was team leader Tom Little, an optometrist from Delmar, New York, who had been working in Afghanistan for more than 30 years, Mr Frans said.
A statement on the Christian charity's website said: "This tragedy negatively impacts our ability to continue serving the Afghan people as IAM has been doing since 1966.
"We hope it will not stop our work that benefits over a quarter of a million Afghans each year."
US Embassy spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said: "We have reason to believe that several American citizens are among the deceased.
"We cannot confirm any details at this point, but are actively working with local authorities and others to learn more about the identities and nationalities of these individuals."
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