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Charity resolute over Afghan deaths

A Christian charity says it is not planning to leave Afghanistan despite the murders of 10 of its aid workers, including a British doctor.

Dr Karen Woo, 36, was shot dead along with six Americans, one German and two Afghans in Badakhshan province on Thursday as the group returned from delivering medical supplies to poor mountain communities.

It emerged that another Briton, who was working for a private security company, was killed in Afghanistan by a prisoner who overpowered his guards as he was moved for prayers.

Father-of-four Ken McGonigle, 51, a former policeman from Magheramason, Co Londonderry, in Northern Ireland, was shot dead along with two US Marines in the incident in Musa Qala in Helmand province on Saturday.

The International Assistance Mission (IAM), the Kabul-based charity which organised Dr Woo's expedition, insisted that the murdered aid workers were not trying to spread Christianity or distribute Bibles.

Dirk Frans, the aid group's executive director, paid tribute to those killed and their "commitment to serve the Afghan people".

He told a press conference in Kabul: "As things stand right now, IAM is not thinking of withdrawing from Afghanistan.

"Our NGO has worked here for well over four decades. And we remember that there were times when security was much worse than it is now.

"IAM works in Afghanistan as the guest of the people and the government. As long as we are welcome here, we will, God willing, continue to stay and serve the Afghan people."


From Belfast Telegraph