Christian NGO identifies killed aid workers, vows to stay in Afghanistan
The International Assistance Mission, a Christian organization whose team of 10 aid workers were ambushed by the Taliban on Friday, said the killings would not chase it from the country.
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Aid work has increasingly focused on the north of Afghanistan since conflict in other parts of the country has hampered relief operations. The Christian Science Monitor reports, however, that security in Badakshan has been slipping, even though the province was ranked the fifth safest out of 34 in the second quarter of this year. Badakhshan lies on a major opium smuggling route and borders districts where the Taliban are active.
Other NGOs vow to stay
However, the Guardian newspaper reports that attacks by the Taliban against foreign aid workers are rare and that militants even grant safe passage to aid workers in some areas they control. The paper adds that the Talibans claiming responsibility for the deaths goes against their way of working which is to capture, not kill, then barter for ransom or the release of key prisoners.
The New York Times reports that some aid workers are hopeful that Friday's massacre does not indicate a strategy shift among the Afghan Taliban against relief work:
I don't think it's a change in policy, said Nic Lee, director of the Afghan safety office, who said the Taliban had tried to leave relief workers alone because they provided services to areas they controlled that no one else could. We have not advised NGOs that it's some kind of strategic shift, and we think it has no implications for Badakhshan or for the rest of the country.
According to the Associated Press, Afghanistan's human rights commission announced on Sunday that civilian casualties in the first seven months of 2010 rose by 6 percent over the same period last year.