A Project of the American Enterprise Institute and the Federalist Society

Five Medical Staff Killed In Afghanistan

Christian Aid

April 10, 2006

Five medical staff working for a Christian Aid-funded organisation have been murdered in north-west Afghanistan.

The victims include a doctor, community health worker, and health educator who were part of a project run by the Rural Rehabilitation Association for Afghanistan (RRAA), in Darrah-i-Bohm, Badghis province.

It is thought that at least four gunmen broke into their clinic at around 1am today (local time). According to reports, the gunmen tied them up before shooting them.

The local community, fearing for their lives, did not approach the scene until dawn when they raised the alarm with RRAA staff government police forces do not operate in this isolated region.

Christian Aid's Fazl Rabi said: We work as a team with our partners and we are sharing their pain at this loss. This clinic was in a very poor area with no facilities but the dedicated staff were providing essential services. We're all very upset.

The motive for the attack remains unclear although some reports claim it could have been linked to internationally-backed poppy eradication activities that are triggering anti-western sentiment.

Afghan poppies are used to produce heroin.

Local non-governmental organisations funded by foreign donors are increasingly becoming targets for those who wish to destabilise Afghanistan at this crucial stage in its development.

Aid workers in Afghanistan face constant risk and in some cases are forced to stop working in dangerous areas.

In such instances, communities that receive no assistance from the government become even more cut off from basic and vital services, such as healthcare and education.

Sayed Abdul Hakim, of RRAA, said: We express our regret and condolences to the families, friends and relatives of these innocents who have spent their lives serving the most vulnerable people living in this most remote area of Afghanistan. Peace be upon them.

RRAA staff are retrieving the bodies of the deceased and returning them to their families.

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