Clinton Criticizes Aid Worker Killings

August 9th, 2010 by Staff

(NewsCore) – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Sunday condemned “in the strongest possible terms” the killings of ten medical aid workers in Afghanistan, reportedly by the Taliban, calling it a “despicable act of wanton violence.”

In a statement released in Washington, Clinton said “we are heartbroken by the loss of these heroic, generous people.”

She described them as representing “exactly what the Taliban stands against: a future of peace, freedom, opportunity, and openness, where all Afghans can live and work together in harmony, free from terror.”

Karl Eikenberry, U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, said the United States was “shocked and saddened” by the killings, adding, “Our hearts go out to the families and the friends of those who lost loved ones in this heart-wrenching incident.

“Militant, extremist Taliban have claimed responsibility for these killings,” he said. “We do not know whether they are responsible or simply taking credit for the cowardly and despicable acts of others.

“The Taliban has called this group of medical aid workers spies and proselytizers. They were no such thing. These were selfless volunteers who devoted themselves to providing free and much-needed healthcare to Afghans in the most remote and difficult parts of (the) country. ”

The bullet-riddled bodies of the five men, all Americans, and three women — an American, a German and a Briton — were found Friday in the northeastern province of Badakhshan, according to provincial police. Two Afghans were also killed in the attack, and one survived.

The team of volunteer medics were returning with their driver from a medical camp in neighboring Nuristan province when they were attacked, according to the director of their aid organization, the Kabul-based International Assistance Mission.

The bodies of the eight victims were flown back to Kabul by helicopter Sunday, the U.S. embassy said.

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