Saturday, August 07, 2010
10 Medical Aid Workers, 6 Americans, Murdered by Taliban Thugs, the Largest Massacre Of Aid Workers in Afghanistan.
The group — a medical aid team of six Americans, a Briton, a German and four Afghans — had just finished eating when they were accosted by Taliban gunmen with long red beards, the local police said.
The gunmen marched the aid workers into the forest, stood 10 of them in a straight line, 7 men and 3 women, and shot them. The police found their bodies on Friday, the Badakhshan Province police chief, Gen. Aqa Noor Kentoz, said Saturday.
The Taliban claimed responsibility, accusing the medical group of "being spies and Christian missionaries". The killings, the largest massacre of aid workers in Afghanistan in recent years, vividly demonstrated the increasing insecurity in the northern part of the country, well outside the Taliban’s base, and provided chilling evidence of how much more vicious the insurgency has turned in recent years.
The police said the group of doctors, nurses and technicians had been hiking into one of the toughest areas of the country to provide medical treatment and eye care on behalf of the International Assistance Mission in Kabul, an aid group that has operated in Afghanistan since 1966. The local police identified the mission’s team leader, Dr. Tom Little of Delmar, N.Y., as one of the dead.
Dr. Tom Little, 62, New York optometrist one of six American aid workers killed in Afghanistan. Tom Little hailed from upstate New York, but made his home in Afghanistan. The 62-year-old optometrist was the guiding force behind the National Organization for Ophthalmic Rehabilitation (NOOR), bringing eye care to the remote rural regions of the war-torn nation.
Little was among 10 members of a medical team gunned down by Afghan militants earlier this week during a three-week mission of mercy to northern Afghanistan. Little, who typically traveled with his wife Libby, moved to Afghanistan in 1978 to provide eye care for indigent locals.
The couple raised three daughters in Afghanistan while maintaining a home in Delmar, near Albany. His wife was at home coming to grips with the brutal slaying, said Lawrence Roff, senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Schenectady.
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