Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Two aid workers killed in Afghanistan had a deep commitment to the country, and knew the risks associated with humanitarian work there, friends and family of the victims' said Saturday.
The aid workers were said to be among 10 members of a medical team who were shot and killed Thursday by gunmen in Badakhshan, a remote northeastern region of the country.
Among the dead were six Americans, two Afghans, a Briton and a German, said Dirk Frans, director of International Assistance Mission. He said two other Afghans on the team are alive.
Aqa Nwor Kentoz, the police chief in the province, says the gunmen stopped the group on the road, took their belongings and shot them one by one. An Afghan was released because he was reciting excerpts from the Quran, Kentoz said.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
Libby Little, the wife of team leader Tom Little, of Albany, New York, confirmed to CNN that her husband was among the six Americans killed.
She said she knew the worst had happened when she didn't hear from her husband after 24 hours. She described a system they established years ago -- he would give her a short, 30-second call every 12 hours to let her know he was OK. When two cycles went by without a call from her husband, she said she knew something was wrong.
Frans would not confirm Little's death, only acknowledging Little was the leader of the medical team.
Libby Little described her husband as deeply devoted to the Afghan people -- a feeling shared by another member of the team, British citizen Dr. Karen Woo, who was also believed killed in the attack.
Woo's friend, Firuz Rahimi, confirmed her death to CNN and said his friend gave up a comfortable life in London to work in Afghanistan.
Rahimi said he spoke with Woo three weeks ago, while she was packing for a trip with IAM to Nuristan. He told CNN that Woo had medicine and medical equipment procured after a period of fundraising. Woo was excited about the trip but was fully aware of the risks she faced making this kind of journey, he said.
Libby Little said her husband was also intimately aware of the risks. She described Tom Little as very familiar with the area where he was killed and had been working in the country for 30 years.
Libby Little said she doesn't, however, know exactly what happened on the remote road in Badakhshan province. She told CNN affiliate WTN that no one she has spoken to is sure, either.
Fighting back tears, Little said the area is so remote that no one has been able to get to the scene to investigate. She said local villagers saw the aftermath and traveled to a larger population center to let authorities know.
Her account couldn't be immediately verified by CNN.
Badakhshan, bordered by Tajikistan to the north and Pakistan to the south, is a sparsely populated region comprised of a majority Tajik population and an Uzbek and Kyrgyz minority. Badakhshan was the only province that was not controlled by the Taliban when it ruled Afghanistan.
IAM's website said an eye-care team had been in Nuristan province "at the invitation of communities there. After having completed their medical work the team was returning to Kabul."
Little told WTN that her husband had a "rare opportunity" to get to a remote camp involved with eye care. The group was actually assisting three medical camps, she said. Tom Little was helping train people to do work at the camps, according to his wife.
Hans Ronnlund, the assistant to the executive director of the mission group, denied statements by the Taliban that the medical staff was carrying Bibles. Ronnlund said the International Assistance Mission is a humanitarian development organization formed by various Christian groups, but said medical staffers do not carry Bibles.
"We cannot understand how they can say that," he said.
It is a tragic thing that these people were killed. But the scripture makes it clear such a thing has to be approved by the Lord. For his reasons and purposes this was allowed.
It is a hard thing, but they have joined the early new testament saints as marytrs.Psalm 116:15 Precious in the site of the Lord!
ya, I bet not one Afghan Muslim is calling for Justice in these murders.
Hell they are probably dancing in the streets, over joyed the infidels are dead :gah:
Hey, where's that Nimrod Hamid Karzai now. How come he ain't jumping up and down to find these killers.
Time to get the :censored: out of that dump.
I take that back, we should keep Afghanistan , use it as a scientific example of how time stopped in the Jurassic period. Scientists can observe first hand how Homo-sapiens developed over time.