Murdered Christian Humanitarians Memorialized in Kabul: What Do Their Murders Really Tell Us?

 When I fled Afghanistan at the end of 1961, I thought I was the only American who had ever been there or heard about the country—other than Herman Melville who opens Moby Dick with a reference to “Bloody Riots in Afghanistan.”


Now, nearly 50 years later, (well, 48 years to be precise), Afghanistan seems to be following me. I cannot pick up a newspaper without reading at least one, often two articles about it.  This is true day after day, year after year.

Just today, I read about the memorial services for the six American, one British, one German foreign aid workers and the two Afghans who worked with them. Three were women. They were all buried at the British Cemetary in Kabul. With the exception of the Afghans, the medical team  were all Christians but they had not come to proselytize. They came to do for the impoverished Afghan people what their own leaders could not or would not do: Provide free and expert dental, medical, surgical, and eye care.

Of course, the Taliban proudly claimed responsibility for and justified the cold-blooded murders of unarmed civilians because they were Christians who had come to convert Muslims. On the other hand, the single survivor, their Afghan Muslim driver, says that it could have been a simple robbery—the murderers first removed their victim’s money, jewelry and valuables and then shot each person, one by one. The driver also says that he was only allowed to live because he said he was a Muslim and was able to recite some verses from the Qu’ran.

Thus, these noble souls were either murdered because they were Christians or because they were  do-gooders who provided free medical care in Kabul, Herat, Mazar, and Kandahar.

 Sedika Mojdadi, is the Afghan-American daughter of two Afghan physicians who emigrated to America in 1972.


In 2007, she released a powerful documentary, Motherland Afghanistan which followed her parents’ working visits back to Afghanistan over a six year period.

Mojdadi’s father is an obstetrician-gynecologist. He went to Afghanistan to train Afghan physicians who “had no clue as to how to do things properly because no one has told them.”

Afghanistan has the second highest infant mortality rate in the world. There are at least 100,000 women in Afghanistan with unhealed fistulas. Women with fistulas (torn during childbirth) are rarely treated. A women suffering from  Eclampysia-induced seizures was taken to a mullah/faith healer who tried to “exorcise” the evil spirits. He beat the pregnant woman with a whip until she was near death. The baby died. The mother survived, but barely.

In the recent past, rioting mobs have laid siege to hospitals.

 According to the Mojdadis, (her mother is a primary care physician), despite the presumably massive American government support, hospitals rarely had any supplies. Patients have to buy their own IV equipment, sutures for surgery, etc. Anesthesia is limited. Bathrooms are constantly overflowing and unusable.

 Dr. Mojdadi finally left the American hospital but returned to an NGO-funded hospital in a Hazara region. The cabinets were fully stocked with hospital supplies. It was clean, beautiful, and was serving 57,000 patients a year. However, the doctors still did not have adequate skills. Although he was born and grew up in Afghanistan, Dr. Mojdadi admits that he could not live here any more, things are “too rough.”


 Enter the American Christian do-gooders. Their needless, sobering murders are a triumph of pure Evil over pure Good. It is also an example of what death-eating Muslim Taliban or Arabized Afghans really think of infidels. More: It shows that anyone who tries to alleviate physical suffering is perceived as an enemy of a Sunni Islamic Afghanistan and therefore is also treated as vulnerable prey, to be taken hostage for ransom money, or robbed and murdered.

Jews are hated because they have brought moral and scientific knowledge into the world and, as Israelis, “made the desert bloom” (in every sense of the word); Arabs did not even try to do so.

These Christians are hated because they represent the virtues of altruism and compassion and represent a tradition which values life over death, healing over suffering.

This is why they were murdered.

America’s and the West’s greatest decision is whether we are obligated to try and help those people whose leaders refuse to do so—and who will kill us for trying.

I have yet to hear President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton, or President Hamid Karzai clearly denounce these murders and explain exactly what they mean.


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