Several Americans were believed to have been killed in northeast Afghanistan, the US Embassy in Kabul said yesterday after Afghan police said at least eight foreigners, including six Germans, had been shot dead.
“We have reason to believe that several American citizens are among the deceased. We cannot confirm any details at this point,” US Embassy spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said in a statement.
Aqa Noor Kentuz, the police chief for Badakshan province, said the “bullet-riddled” bodies of six Germans, two Americans and three Afghans were found early yesterday. Kentuz said the foreigners had identified themselves as doctors, while some reports said they were tourists.
Kentuz said they had been camping near jungle on a tour of Badakshan and Nuristan when they were attacked by unidentified gunmen. Travel documents were found near their bodies, he said.
“Before their travel we warned them not to tour near jungles in Nuristan but they said they were doctors and no one was going to hurt them,” Kentuz said.
Jamaluddin Badr, governor of nearby Nuristan Province, also said the group was made up of doctors who had visited several districts in Nuristan and Badakshan, helping local Afghans.
A spokesman for the German Foreign Ministry in Berlin said they were checking reports through their embassy in Kabul and could not comment until more information became available.
Violence in Afghanistan is at its worst since US-led and Afghan armed groups overthrew the Taliban in 2001. June was the bloodiest month for foreign forces in Afghanistan since then, with more than 100 killed.
Hundreds of Afghan civilians have also been killed this year as they become caught up in the crossfire. The deaths of tourists, however, are much less common and it was not immediately clear why the group was in an area known to be frequented by the Taliban and other insurgent groups such as the Haqqani network.