Tue., January 1, 2013 1:36pm (EST)

Attack On Aid Workers In Pakistan Leaves 7 Dead
By Steve Mullis
Updated: 1 year ago

A father of an aid worker, who was killed by gunmen, mourns the death of his daughter at a hospital in Swabi, Pakistan on Tuesday.
A father of an aid worker, who was killed by gunmen, mourns the death of his daughter at a hospital in Swabi, Pakistan on Tuesday.
Following an already violent year in Pakistan, on the first day of the New Year gunmen shot and killed five teachers and two aid workers as they were driving home from work.

According to The Associated Press, the groups director said they may have been targeted for their anti-polio work, which would follow a pattern of attacks against charity and aid workers in Pakistan in recent weeks.

Among the dead were six women and one male.

The New York Times had more details of the attack:

"The attack ... near the village of Sher Afzal Banda, was conducted by two men on a motorcycle who opened fire on a van bringing the workers home, the police said. The dead worked for the private Pakistani aid group Support With Working Solution, which works in the health and education sectors."

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the shootings, but officials in Pakistan believe that the attacks is part of a broader campaign by the Pakistani Taliban against aid workers.

Militants in the past have accused aid workers, particularly those doing anti-polio work, of acting as spies for the U.S. They allege the vaccine is intended to make Muslim children sterile, the AP reports.

In December, another attack against anti-polio vaccination workers left nine dead. Such attacks forced the United Nations to halt its participation in a Pakistani-run anti-polio effort in Pakistan.

Also in Pakistan, a bomb that police officials said was planted on a motorcycle at a rally in Karachi killed four people and injured as many as 41. The rally was held for the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, the dominant political party in Karachi.


Copyright 2013 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.