Humanitarian, not missionary Mother of doctor killed by Taliban says
THE family of a British doctor killed along with eight foreign aid workers in Afghanistan has rejected claims that she was preaching Christianity to Muslims.
Dr Karen Woo was among 10 people shot dead in the remote north-eastern Badaskhshan province on Friday.
Her body and those of seven others arrived back in Kabul yesterday for formal identification as police hunted for their killers.
The 36-year-old British medic, who was due to marry this month, was murdered along with six Americans and a German as they were returning from a medical camp.
The Taliban claimed responsibility Saturday, saying the group and their Afghan interpreters were “spying for America and preaching Christianity”.
In a statement, Woo’s family said her motivation was purely humanitarian.
“She was a Humanist and had no religious or political agenda,” the statement read.
“She wanted the world to know there was more than a war going on in Afghanistan, that people were not getting their basic needs met.
“She undertook this trek as a medical doctor, accompanying medical supplies and to provide treatment to people who lived in an extremely remote region who had little to no health care available.
“Her commitment was to make whatever difference she could. She was a true hero.”
The Foreign Office confirmed the British doctor killed in Afghanistan was Woo, adding in a statement: “This is a deplorable and cowardly act which is against the interests of the people of Afghanistan who depended on the services she was bravely helping to provide.”
Another militant group, Hizb-e-Islami, also claimed its members carried out the attack on the convoy, which had been visiting the neighboring Nuristan province.
Despite the two claims, Afghan authorities said they believe robbery was a motive in the ambush.
Two Afghans were also killed in the attack, while one driver – identified as Saifullah – survived.
Woo was traveling with a group from the Kabul-based Christian charity International Assistance Mission (IAM).
The team was touring the region as part of a mobile medical unit offering help to communities that are normally isolated.
“The whole thing is still very confusing. We are of course going to wait for the official investigation and see what comes out of that,” Dirk Frans, director of IAM, said of the attack.
The IAM group was led by Dr. Tom Little, an American ophthalmologist who spent over 30 years working in Afghanistan.
His wife Libby normally traveled with him, but on this occasion she was back in New York preparing for the birth of a new grandchild.
“He felt that Jesus, the one we follow, cared about people’s eyes,” she said.
“That was enough. That was enough for us to go and do what we could.
“He was surrounded by Afghans who would lay down their life for him, because they saw that he really cared for the Afghan people.”
Little had previously been expelled by the Taliban in