HERAT: Two Finnish female aid workers were shot dead by unidentified gunmen while travelling in a taxi in western Afghanistan yesterday, officials said, the latest killings in a recent spate of attacks on foreigners.
No group has yet claimed responsiblity, but the Christian medical charity the women worked for was targeted by the Taliban four years ago in an attack that killed eight foreigners. The militants claimed at the time the medics were “missionaries”.
Sayed Fazullah Wahidy, Governor of Herat province, said: “At around 11:30am gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire at two foreigners riding in a taxi and killed them.”
Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said the perpetrators had escaped. “One person was detained at the scene but the two gunmen escaped and police are searching the area,” he said.
Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto condemned the “barbaric” shootings. “The Finnish women’s barbaric fate touches us all. The act is particularly shocking because the women were in Afghanistan to help the local population. The murderer or murderers must be held accountable for their actions. I call on the Afghan authorities to make every effort to ensure the perpetrators are caught and brought to justice.”
The International Assistance Mission, a Christian medical charity, said the victims were their employees. “Two Finnish expatriate female staff members have been killed in Herat,” it said.