Secretary Clinton Condemns Killing of Medical Aid Workers in Afghanistan

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
August 9, 2010
Secretary Clinton Condemns Killings in Afghanistan

On August 6, Afghan police officers discovered the bodies of 10 medical aid workers who were killed in the northern Badakhshan Province. Six were Americans. Today, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Special Representative Richard Holbrooke delivered remarks condemning this act of violence.

Secretary Clinton said, "These men and women were in the region to deliver free medical care to impoverished Afghan villagers. They were doctors, dentists, translators, and technicians, and their mission was solely humanitarian and wholly independent from that of any government. Before their deaths, they had spent several days treating cataracts and other eye conditions in Nuristan Province. At their next stop, they planned to run a dental clinic and offer maternal and infant health care. They were unarmed. They were not being paid for their services. They had traveled to this part of Afghanistan because they wanted to help people in need. They were guests of the Afghan people.

"At least two of the Americans had worked in Afghanistan for more than 30 years. They had worked under Soviet occupation. They had worked under the most difficult circumstances of internal conflict among various sectors of the country led by warlords, and they had worked under the Taliban time."

The Secretary continued, "We are heartbroken by the loss of these heroic, generous people. And we condemn in the strongest possible terms these vicious murders. We also condemn the Taliban's transparent attempt to justify the unjustifiable by making false accusations about these aid workers' activities in Afghanistan.

"Terror has no religion, and these acts are rejected by people all over the world, including by countless Muslims here in our country, in Afghanistan, and everywhere else. As President Obama said in Cairo, the Quran teaches that taking one innocent life is like killing all humanity, and saving one innocent life is like saving all humanity. With these murders, the Taliban have shown us yet another example of the lengths to which they will go to advance their twisted ideology. Their cruelty is well-documented. Members of the Taliban have assassinated tribal elders, thrown acid in the face of young girls on the way to or from school, and earlier this summer, they accused a 7-year-old boy of being a spy and then hanged him."

Secretary Clinton concluded, "The murdered medical volunteers, as well as the volunteers from many nations and the international coalition working to establish stability in Afghanistan, represent exactly what the Taliban stands against: a future of peace, freedom, opportunity, and openness, in which all Afghans can live and work together in safety, free from terror.

"That is what the government and people of Afghanistan are working to achieve, that is what we are working to help them to achieve. As determined as the extremists are to spread their destructive view of the world, the Afghan people, along with their partners, including the United States, are determined to stop them. So as we mourn the loss of these brave aid workers, we will continue with our own efforts, and we will be inspired by their heroism, their compassion, and their love for the Afghan people."

Read the Secretary's full remarks here.

Related Entry: Killing of Medical Aid Workers in Afghanistan



Texas, USA
August 9, 2010

Salg in Texas writes:

A very good response to this tragedy. Condolences to all the family and friends of the deceased.

United States
August 10, 2010

Beth M. in the U.S.A. writes:

this crime is reprehensible. so shameful that anyone would do this.

I am deeply saddened, and my heart goes out to the friends, family, and collegues of those who are lost.

New Mexico, USA
August 10, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Here in New Mexico when you pass through my state, one may see the odd cross by the side of the road, sometimes more than one.

Each marks a passing, a tragedy, and rememberance of loved ones.

Now I don't know what the Afghan Gov. might think about this tradition, but memorials are often built to mark crimes against humanity to remind us all what path to walk in life and the one that leads to a people's despair.

I'm not sure if they'd stand up ten crosses on the spot and let the Afghan's who knew them bring their offerings of thanks ( flowers, a kid's picture they treated, a testinony of good health written and tucked under a rock at the base, etc.) to honor these good people's service to them and to the Afghan nation, but they accepted the help of these people of faith, different faith yes, but it created honorable people and they acted as such.

It would only be fitting to honor them as they were. For who they were and for the medical work they believed in that led them there, and their faith that gave them the individual strength of will to help out for free in the first place.

The Afghan people don't need to show us here in the States how wrong this was, many have voiced their disgust with the taliban's claim of responsibility spontaneously.

I suggest this memorial be considered because Afghan's may need to show each other how wrong these killings were, and what it means to be Afghan living in correctness with one another and the world at large.

To honor good people regardless of what faith they have abided by in their lives.

Does anyone think a Buddhist like myself would be alive now if I'd been with them?

Anyone who'd blow away Afghan's Buddhist cultural heritage would not hesitate to blow me away.

So this isn't about any taliban claim against Cristians made in hopes to justify their henious acts, or in repudiation of their victim's good works.

We can see the truth as much as every Afghan can, so no one is buying their story.

It's about Afghans remembering what Afghanistan is all about, and that's always been a crossroads of thought and cultures.

A melting pot not unlike the US in some respects, and honoring that at the same time honoring the individuals the taliban has killed without empathy for their victims or the Afghan people themselves.

They would rob Afghanistan of its soul if they could.

I'm sure Afghans themselves won't let them.

And if we are to have confidence in our partner in this war on terror, we can surely trust this.

K. B.
California, USA
August 10, 2010

K.M.B. in California writes:

I am so sad by this act of Barbary. My heart and prayers go to the families and friends of the victims. They died while doing a very honorable service to humanity. They could have been my friends and colleagues too. May God bless their souls. Amen

New Mexico, USA
August 10, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

CNN News Item:

Al-Shabaab, the Islamist militant group battling Somalia's U.N.-backed transitional government, ordered World Vision, Adventist Development and Relief Agency and Diakonia to cease their operations.

"Acting as missionaries under the guise of humanitarian work, the organizations have been spreading their corrupted ideologies in order to taint the pure creed of the Muslims in Somalia," the militant group said in a statement Monday.

"Along with their missionary work, the proliferation of corruption and indecency has become prevalent as a result of their presence," the statement said, warning other non-governmental groups against engaging in "similar activities"

All three organizations are Christian aid groups. However, as signatories of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement code of conduct, they have specific polices against proselytizing when distributing aid.


This brings "monkey see, monkey do" to a new low level of understanding and manifestation.

Wait for it...the repeated atrocities I mean.

Coming soon to a failed state near you.

New York, USA
August 10, 2010

Ron in New York writes:

Need More.....

1- More resources for NGO's
2- More Security for NGO's
3- More apolitical Government and IO support for NGO's
4- More opportunities for NGO partnerships
in post-conflict (post-crisis) situations.
5- More accountability by NGO's

August 10, 2010

Sab in Sudan writes:

That is awful, those Medical have traveled abroad to help and cure and sustain. I hope now more training to local Afghan Doctors that will be a great help in the future. Also those

Joseph M.
Oregon, USA
August 10, 2010

Joseph A.M. in Oregon writes:

Madam Secretary and Senior U.S. Department of State Staff:

Anytime you have the needless loss of civilian lives in a region of conflict, it is always and obviously very tragic, regardless who is doing the killing. Although, however tragic this recent killing of aid workers is, we have to look at the dynamics of the conflict in Afghanistan and in this region, resolving the conflict in Afghanistan is not a military solution. Afghanistan is an Islamic state and this society is historically structured by Tribal laws and governed by Sharia (Islamic Jurisprudence). You do not bring a Christian religious medical team, even if they are not promoting Christianity, or seeking to convert the local Muslim community, (even if their intentions are noble and genuine), and expect them as humanitarian aid-workers -- from a Western society, to be O.k. and safe within a Islamic State during a time of violent conflict and mayhem. Da, what were they thinking? Afghanistan since 2002, incidentally, has suffered many civilian casualties by Western military intervention and due to continuous ISAF and NATO air-strikes. The Taliban, in this particular incident, did what the Crusader Army did upon reaching Jerusalem, under the banner of the Vatican, approximately a thousand years ago -- by reciprocating the killing of those Christian aid workers. Only, in Jerusalem, during 1,100 a.d. under the banner of the Vatican, the Crusader Army slaughtered hundreds of Muslim civilians, including woman and children, only due to the fact that they were Muslims.

Yes, religion remains a very intricate part of this conflict in Central Asia, as well as the loss of civilian lives, as a result of ISAF and NATO air-strikes, having any civilians being killed in Afghanistan is very tragic and counterproductive, regardless of who is doing the killing. The U.S. Government, the NATO contingent, and the Afghan government, should only allow "international aid-workers" and humanitarian assistant NGOs, who are not affiliated with Christian Religious organizations, they should allow -- Doctor's Without Borders and Mercy Corps, in naming a couple. I simply cannot believe that the U.S. Department of State, in their quest for acknowledging the local culture and with establishing sensitivity for the Islamic faith, has not thought of this before, which could have saved at least 14 lives? The Taliban live a simple structured lifestyle, governed by Tribal laws, inspired by the Quran and follow Islamic teachings according to Sharia. I would like to see more emphasis being placed on "dialogue", "nation-building" and on the "reconciliation process" taking place, between the Taliban, Muslim community, Afghan central government and a much lesser military footprint.

marcia k.
August 11, 2010

Marcia K. in Canada writes:

I am very saddened by this act of brutal cold booded killing . The torah teaches to only defend ourselves . These kind people were only helping those in need . I pray the killers are dealt with in a extreamly severe manner - to show the world this behavoir is intolerable in the western, civilized world . Such barbaric , violent , criminal acts must never be accepted in the western world of norh america. I pray the killers receive the most severe punishment possable , and the whole world knows it.

donald m.
Virginia, USA
August 14, 2010

Donald M. in Virginia writes:

I think its horrable, tragic and disgraceful, the Taliban are NOT human beings. They are homicide serial killers. Our prayers are with the families...Maybe it is about time the United States ended the Occupation in Afghanistan and bring our people home safe. I hope that the General in country can provide some kind of security for those that are in groups trying to provide help? Why on earth is anyone allowing these guys to wonder off without any kind of protection?


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