Family pay tribute to Karen Woo - executed in Afghanistan

THE family of a Stevenage doctor executed in Afghanistan on Friday have paid tribute to “a true hero”.

Dr Karen Woo, who grew up in Brixham Close, Stevenage, was shot alongside an international group of nine other aid workers returning to the capital Kabul from a remote area of the country.

The Taliban have claimed responsibility for the killings.

Dr Woo, 36, was due to fly back home to marry her fianc�, Mark Smith, a security contractor, at a ceremony in Chelsea next Friday.

Parents Lynn and Teh Aun, brothers David and Andrew, and fianc� Mark have denied Taliban claims that she was spying for the Americans and preaching Christianity.


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“Karen was a humanist and had no political or religious agenda,” they insisted in a statement.

“She wanted the world to know there was more than a war going on in Afghanistan, that people were not getting their basic needs met.

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“She wanted the ordinary people of Afghanistan, especially the women and children, to be able to receive healthcare.

“Her commitment was to make whatever difference she could.

“She was a true hero and, whilst scared, she never let that prevent her from doing things she felt she had to do.”

Dr Woo attended St Nicholas JMI and then The Barclay School in Stevenage.

She went on to study at the London Contemporary Dance School for three years before working as a professional dancer with the London Contemporary Dance Company for a further two years.

She then decided to pursue a career in medicine and gained a place at University College London.

The family statement continued: “Karen was an inspiration to everyone she met.

“She combined brains and beauty, intelligence, drive and kookiness in equal measure.

“She led an intensely packed and rich life - dancer, model, stunt plane walker, doctor and aid worker.

“Whatever she set her mind to she did with passion - she was the embodiment of seizing the moment.

“She went through life always believing the best of everyone despite everything she had seen.

“We hope the legacy she leaves is to inspire others to give love and aid rather than perpetuate hate and violence.”

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