Leader of Slain Afghanistan Medical Team Said to Ignore Warnings

The American leader of medical aid workers gunned down in Afghanistan last week had brushed aside safety warnings, according to the head of the NGO that organized the ill-fated expedition.

Dirk Frans, executive director of the International Assistance Mission, said he had raised concerns over the team’s size and composition: He said a team of 12 was too large and included too many foreigners.

Frans said he had expressed his fears to Tom Little, the veteran U.S. optometrist who first went to Afghanistan in 1977. Little led the medical mission that ended in the death of eight foreign and two local staff last week in Badakhshan province.

The team set off to conduct eye surgeries and bring medical care to the remote valleys of Nuristan province.

“Why were there that many foreigners and so few Afghans? I asked Tom that same question,” Frans told the Guardian.

An Australian filmmaker backed out of the mission partly because of concerns that a large group of foreigners would attract too much attention, the Guardian reported.

About the author

  • Dsc05567

    Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.