KABUL, Afghanistan — Three foreign medical workers and two Afghans were killed Wednesday when their car was ambushed in northwestern Afghanistan, police and the aid group Doctors Without Borders said. Taliban militants claimed responsibility.
The assault was the deadliest on foreign aid workers since the U.S.-led ouster of the Taliban regime in late 2001, and it was likely to raise new security fears that already prevent agencies from operating in much of the insurgency-stricken south and east.
The group was ambushed in Khair Khana, a village in Badghis province 340 miles west of Kabul, provincial Police Chief Amir Shah Naibzada said.
An official at Doctors Without Borders, which runs several clinics in the province, said three of its foreign staffers and two Afghans died in what "seemed to be a terrorist-type attack," but added that details were still murky.
The group later said the foreign victims were a Belgian woman, a Dutch man and a Norwegian man who were members of a medical team, but it did not give their specific jobs.
Naibzada said it was unclear whether they were the victims of anti-government militants or robbers. But Mullah Abdul Hakim Latifi, who claimed to be a spokesman for the Taliban, said in a phone call that the militants carried out the attack and gave the location where it took place.
Rebels of the former ruling Taliban regime and the Al Qaeda network, active in the country's south and east, have targeted aid workers over the last year in an apparent attempt to undermine efforts by the U.S.-backed government to rebuild the country after a quarter of a century of war.