Saturday, August 7, 2010
The body of Dr Woo, whose family came from Stevenage, Hertfordshire, was found on Friday next to three bullet-riddled four-wheel drive vehicles.
The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack, which also claimed the lives of six Americans, a German and two Afghan interpreters. The attack happened in the Kuran Wa Munjan district of Badakhshan province in Afghanistan.
It is understood that the victims were lined up, robbed and shot dead with AK-47 rifles. "Yesterday (Friday) at around 8am, one of our patrols confronted a group of foreigners. They were Christian missionaries and we killed them all," said Zabihullah Mujahed, a spokesman for the Taliban.
Dr Woo was returning to Kabul after working in an eye clinic in the Nuristan province when her convoy was attacked. She had previously worked for private health care firm Bupa before she decided to do aid work in Afghanistan. Her parents and two brothers were too upset to comment on her death.
Gen Agha Noor Kemtuz, the provincial police chief, said it was unclear what the group had been doing in Kuran Wa Munjan district of Badakhshan.
He said villagers had reported finding the abandoned vehicles in Afghanistan and an investigation team was sent to the densely-forested scene on the border with Nuristan province, one day's drive from the provincial capital Faizabad. He said: "We couldn't find any passports or anything."
The dead were believed to be medical workers on an eye care mission from International Assistance Mission (IAM), a Christian charity specialising in health and economic development.
A statement from IAM said: "We have been informed that 10 people, both foreign and Afghan, were murdered in Badakhshan.
"It is likely that they are members of the International Assistance Mission (IAM) eye camp team.
"The team had been in Nuristan at the invitation of communities there. After having completed their medical work the team was returning to Kabul.
"At this stage we do not have many details but our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those who are presumed killed.
"If these reports are confirmed we object to this senseless killing of people who have done nothing but serve the poor.
"Some of the foreigners have worked alongside the Afghan people for decades."
Sources close to the organisation said they had not been involved in proselytising.
A United States embassy spokeswoman said: “We have reason to believe that several American citizens are among the deceased.
“We cannot confirm any details at this point, but are actively working with local authorities and others to learn more about the identities and nationalities of these individuals.”
Badakhshan is considered one of the safer, though most remote provinces in Afghanistan. The poverty-stricken region attracts a small number of hikers and adventure tourists.
Dr Woo recently wrote on a website that she wanted to use the medium of health care to show people living outside of Afghanistan what was happening in the country.
On an online charity forum, Bridge Afghanistan, she wrote: "The things that I saw during that visit made me, as a doctor, want to be able to bring back the human stories both good and bad.
"For the last few months I've been working with a small team of journalists and filmmakers as part of Bridge Afghanistan to put together a plan for the documentary I envisioned."
Posted by Cole at 9:37 AM