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Afghanistan war: Deadly ambush of medical mission roils one of safest provinces

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the ambush of a medical mission that killed six Americans, one Briton, one German, and two Afghans. The attack highlights the difficulty of limiting the reach of insurgent activity in the Afghanistan war.

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The office of the International Assistance Mission on Saturday in Kabul, Afghanistan. Ten members of an International Assistance Mission medical team, including six Americans, were shot and killed by militants as they were returning from a two-week trip providing eye and other health care in remote villages of northern Afghanistan.

Ahmad Massoud/AP

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In one of Afghanistan's safest provinces, 10 members of a medical mission – including six Americans – were killed by militants. The attack highlights the trouble coalition forces have had containing the reach of insurgent activity in the Afghanistan war.

The six Americans, one Briton, one German, and three Afghans, were returning from a two-week mission providing eye treatment in Nuristan Province. All were found shot in Badakhshan Province except for one of the Afghans, who escaped.

Some reports suggested the attack might stem from criminal activity, but a Taliban spokesman claimed the killings, telling the Associated Press that the group was "spying for the Americans" and "preaching Christianity." The group, International Assistance Mission (IAM), is a Christian organization, but on its website the group says it does not use aid to further a religious view.

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Badakhshan is located in the far northeast of Afghanistan and is home to few ethnic Pashtuns, the group from which the Taliban draws its membership.

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