The United Nations has condemned the killings of six civilian aid workers by militants in western Afghanistan, saying the victims were not combatants and that their deaths may amount to war crimes.
The U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, known as UNMA, issued a statement saying the victims were participating in a development plan to improve economic opportunities in rural communities when they were kidnapped Sunday. Their bodies were found Tuesday in Herat province.
Afghanistan's Taliban claimed responsibility.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai reacted to the killings while on a visit to Pakistan, where he has been calling on Islamabad to help in arranging peace talks with the Taliban. A presidential statement said "the killing of innocent engineers and workers shows that the Taliban and their foreign masters want Afghanistan to be an impoverished and underdeveloped country forever."