PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN—Gunmen ambushed and shot dead six Pakistani women aid workers and a male doctor on Tuesday, police said, and the charity they worked for said it suspected the attacks were linked to recent murders of polio vaccination workers.
Their vehicle was raked with gunfire as they returned home from work at a children’s community centre run by Pakistani charity Ujala, or Light, said district police officer Abdur Rashid Khan. Their driver was seriously wounded in the attack.
The organisation is involved in health education in underdeveloped parts of the country, Akhtar said. It had run a school and dispensary in Swabi and helped vaccinate children against polio, a disease that can cripple or kill within hours of infection.
“This seemed to be part of the campaign against the polio drive by certain anti-polio elements,” he said.
The Taliban said they did not carry out those attacks although its leaders have repeatedly denounced the vaccination programme as a plot to sterilise people or spy on Muslims.
Aid workers have frequently been kidnapped or killed in Pakistan, a nuclear-armed nation of 180 million that is struggling to contain a Taliban insurgency and plagued by endemic corruption and violent crime.