Ten international aid workers were gunned down in a rugged Northeast corner of Afghanistan as they returned home from taking medical supplies to remote villages. The International Assistance Mission, a Christian charity, said the group specifically picked a route home through a neighboring province because they thought it would be the safest.
Dirk Frans, the director of the charity said his group remains committed to its medical mission and has no plans to leave the country. Speaking in Kabul, Frans remarked, "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 right now."
The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack and insisted the team members were actually trying to convert Muslims to Christianity. That's a charge the aid group and the U.S. government denied. The U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry, said, "these were selfless volunteers who devoted themselves to providing free and much-needed health care to Afghans in the most remote and difficult parts of your country."
The bodies of the 10 slain workers arrived in the capital city of Kabul days after the deadly attack. Five of the families have elected to have funerals and burials in Afghanistan, including the family of Tom Little, the team leader. He was an optometrist who had worked in Afghanistan since the late 1970s.
"Six Americans were killed in the medical team ambush in Afghanistan, along with two Afghans. The remaining two, one British, one Germany, were identified today. And the Taliban has claimed responsibility for the murders." Gwen Ifill
"The murdered medical volunteers, 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, in which all Afghans can live and work together in safety, free from terror." Hillary Rodham Clinton
1. Where is Afghanistan?
2. What are aid workers and what do they do?
3. What is the Taliban?
1. The International Assistance Mission was accused of trying to convert Muslims to Christianity, what does it mean to "convert" someone?
2. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the deadly attacks, if you were an aid worker in a hostile region, how would you try to stay safe?
3. The International Assistance Mission has been working in Afghanistan for over 40 years, are there any organizations in your community that helps others? If so, what type of assistance do they provide?