News / Asia

Christian Charity to Remain in Afghanistan Despite Workers' Killings

A Christian aid group says it has no plans to withdraw from Afghanistan, despite the killing of 10 of its members in the country's north.

The director of International Assistance Mission, Dirk Frans, on Monday released the names of the victims, including six Americans, two Afghans, one Briton and one German.

The aid workers were part of a medical team providing eye and other health care to Afghans (in Nuristan and Badakhshan provinces), when they were shot in Badakhshan province last week.  The Taliban and another militant group claimed responsibility for the attack, accusing them of acting as spies and missionaries.

Frans told reporters in Kabul on Monday that the group (, which has been operating in Afghanistan since 1966,) does not proselytize and that the workers were not carrying Bibles in the local language.  

Afghan authorities are also investigating whether the killings were part of an armed robbery.  Frans says the lone survivor of the attack, an Afghan driver, is being questioned by the Afghan interior ministry in Kabul.

The head of the team (Tom Little) was an American optometrist who had worked in Afghanistan since the 1970s.  The other victims include a British doctor (Karen Woo), an American dentist (Tom Grams), an American nurse (Glen Lapp), an American filmmaker (Brian Carderelli), and a German translator (Daniela Beyer).

Frans says the families of five of the victims have requested burials in Afghanistan, but the bodies of the Americans must first be flown to the United States for FBI autopsies.

In southern Afghanistan, NATO says a bomb attack killed one of its service members on Monday.

Also Monday, NATO said Taliban insurgents attacked three NATO combat posts in the southeastern province of Paktika, sparking clashes with Afghan and international troops. A U.S. military spokesperson said seven of the attackers were killed.  Four U.S. soldiers were wounded.

The alliance also reported Monday that an Afghan child was killed and another child wounded Sunday when insurgents attacked a NATO outpost in the Watahpur district of eastern Kunar province.

NATO says two U.S. Marines were killed Saturday in the country's south while trying to subdue an escaped prisoner.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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