Charity group: 6 Americans among 8 foreigners killed by militants in northern Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — Six Americans were among 8 foreigners killed by militants in northern Afghanistan, a charity group reported Saturday.

The Americans and two Afghan interpreters were killed by gunmen in an ambush in a remote, forested area of Badakhshan province in northern Afghanistan, a police official said Saturday.

Provincial police chief Gen. Agha Noor Kemtuz said the victims, who had been shot, were found Friday next to three bullet-riddled four-wheel drive vehicles in Kuran Wa Munjan district.

He said one of the Americans was an eye doctor working in Afghanistan. The nationalities of the other six foreigners -- three men and three women -- has not been confirmed. The two Afghan men were from Bamiyan and Panjshir provinces, Kemtuz said.

The U.S. Embassy said "several American citizens" were among the deceased.

"We cannot confirm any details at this point, but are actively working with local authorities and others to learn more about the identities and nationalities of these individuals," said Caitlin Hayden, an embassy spokeswoman.

Kemtuz said a third Afghan man, who had been traveling with the group, survived.

"He told me he was shouting and reciting the holy Quran and saying 'I am Muslim. Don't kill me,"' Kemtuz said.

Kemtuz said the survivor told him that the group, which had been traveling in Panjshir, Nuristan and Badakhshan provinces, were surrounded by gunman and then attacked. Kemtuz speculated that robbery could have been a motive in the killings.

"We couldn't find any passports or anything," he said. "Nothing was left behind."

Villagers reported seeing foreigners traveling in four-wheeled drive vehicles in the area about 15 days ago, Kemtuz said. About two days ago, villagers told police that they saw the vehicles abandoned and search crews were sent to the area to investigate, he said.