Clinton Condemns Killing Of Aid Workers

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Monday condemned the Taliban's "despicable" murder of 10 medical aid workers, including two Americans, in Afghanistan. "We are heartbroken by the loss of these heroic, generous people and we condemn in the strongest possible terms these vicious murders," Clinton said, noting the Taliban have claimed responsibility for "this despicable act of wanton violence" The secretary noted the unarmed volunteers in the Christian charity group International Assistance Mission provided medical care to impoverished villagers, working as doctors, dentists and translators and medical technicians. The Taliban claimed responsibility for shooting dead the 10 members of the medical charity who were found in a remote forest in the northeastern Afghan province of Badakhshan. "Their mission was solely humanitarian and wholly independent from that of any government," Clinton said, adding their next stop would have been to operate a dental clinic and provide healthcare to infants. "They had traveled to this part of Afghanistan because they wanted to help people in need; they were guests of the Afghan people," Clinton said. Two of the Americans had worked in Afghanistan more than 30 years she said. Clinton also took aim at the Taliban for justifying the murders by falsely claiming the medical team was spying and trying to convert Afghans to Christianity. "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," Clinton said.