Afghanistan attack: Aid workers shot dead in Balkh province
Nine Afghan employees of a Czech charity have been killed in an attack by unknown gunmen in northern Afghanistan, officials say.
The attack on a guesthouse in the Zari district of Balkh province is the latest of several on aid workers in Afghanistan recently.
The charity - People in Need (PIN) - said the victims were "killed in their beds while they were sleeping".
The attack has not yet been claimed by any group or individual.
PIN condemned the attack, saying in a statement published on its website that it was "unprecedented in its brutality".
"Those killed include two drivers, two guards and five project staff, which included a woman," PIN country director Ross Hollister told reporters.
PIN said it had suspended all of its work in Afghanistan and was adopting measures to strengthen the security of its employees in the country.
The charity has been working in Afghanistan since 2002, delivering aid to remote communities in the east and north of the country.
Balkh police chief Abdul Razaq Qaderi told AFP news agency that police had launched a search operation for the gunmen, who are believed to be Taliban militants.
Tuesday's attack comes just weeks after 14 people were killed in a Taliban attack on a guesthouse popular with international aid workers in the capital, Kabul.