Afghanistan shooting: Finnish aid workers killed in Herat

Afghan security officials inspect a car, after unknown gunmen opened fire on the car, in Herat, Afghanistan, 24 July 2014. Image copyright EPA
Image caption The women were shot as they travelled by taxi

Gunmen in Afghanistan have shot dead two Finnish women working for a Christian aid charity in the western city of Herat, officials say.

A local governor said the women were travelling by taxi when gunmen on a motorcycle fired on their vehicle.

There was no immediate claim for the attack on the International Assistance Mission (IAM) workers.

Separately, at least six civilians died and more than 20 were wounded in a bomb attack in northern Takhar province.

The bomber detonated explosives in a packed market as locals shopped for the festival of Eid al-Fitr later this month.

The IAM has operated in Afghanistan since 1966, and the Taliban have in the past accused its workers of being "Christian missionaries", a claim the charity denies.

The militants targeted the IAM in 2010, in an attack which left eight medics dead.

The charity said it was in the process of informing relatives that the two Finnish expatriate female staff members had been killed in Herat.

"Our prayers are with their relatives, friends, Afghan and international colleagues," acting executive director Heini Makila said in a statement.

The violence comes at a tense time in Afghanistan.

All foreign combat troops are preparing to leave by the end of the year, and votes are being rechecked in a fiercely disputed presidential election to choose a successor to Hamid Karzai.

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