A Christian charity said yesterday it had no plans to leave Afghanistan despite the murders of 10 members of its medical-aid team, and repeated that the organisation does not attempt to convert Muslims to Christianity.
The 10 members - six Americans, two Afghans, one Briton and a German - were gunned down Thursday after they were accosted by gunmen after finishing a two-week mission, providing medical care to impoverished villagers in Nuristan province. The Taliban have claimed responsibility and alleged the group were spies and tried to convert Muslims.
During a press conference held yesterday, the International Assistance Mission, a Kabul-based charity that organised the trip, released the names of the last two victims. They were Brian Carderelli of Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Daniela Beyer of Chemnitz, Germany. German media say she was a 35-year-old translator.
"We want to pay tribute to each of our colleagues who died, to their commitment to serve the Afghan people," said IAM director Dirk Frans. "Those who have known them and seen them at work can do nothing but pay the highest tribute to them."
Frans displayed an Afghan government document granting the team permission to treat people in the remote Parun valley for eye diseases and insisted there was no attempt to preach Christianity.