Afghan security guard shoots dead 3 American doctors at hospital
Published April 24, 2014
The U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan confirmed Thursday that three American doctors – including a reported father and son – were killed by an Afghan security guard who opened fire at a Kabul hospital.
The shooting at Cure International Hospital in the western part of the Afghan capital was the latest attack on foreign civilians in the city this year. Two others, including an American nurse, were wounded, according to Afghanistan’s Health Ministry.
“With great sadness we confirm that three Americans were killed in the attack at CURE Hospital,” said a statement posted on the Embassy’s Twitter page. “No other information will be released at this time.”
Afghanistan Minister of Health Soraya Dalil told the Associated Press that two of the dead were a visiting father and son. Dalil added that the other victim was a Cure International doctor who had worked for seven years in Kabul.
The attacker was a member of the Afghan Police Protection Force assigned to guard the hospital, said District Police Chief Hafiz Khan, who added that the man’s motive was not yet clear.
The attacker was wounded and in custody. The attacker had emerged from surgery Thursday afternoon and was in recovery at the hospital before being questioned, Dalil added.
“Five doctors had entered the compound of the hospital and were walking toward the building when the guard opened fire on them,” Torkystani said. “Three foreign doctors were killed and two other doctors were wounded.” It not immediately known how the attacker was wounded.
According to its website, the Cure International Hospital was founded in 2005 by invitation of the Afghan Ministry of Health. It sees 37,000 patients a year, specializing in child and maternity health as well as general surgery. It is affiliated with the Christian charity Cure International, which operates in 29 countries with the motto “curing the sick and proclaiming the kingdom of God.”
It was unclear whether the Taliban were behind Thursday’s shooting, though the insurgents have claimed several major attacks that killed foreign civilians this year, an escalation after years of mostly targeting foreign military personnel and Afghan security forces.
In January, a Taliban attack on a popular Kabul restaurant with suicide bombers and gunmen killed more than a dozen people, while in March gunmen slipped past security at an upscale hotel in the Afghan capital and killed several diners in its restaurant.
The hospital shooting is also the second “insider attack” by a member of Afghan security forces targeting foreign civilians this month.
On April 4, an Afghan police officer shot two Associated Press staff working in the eastern province of Khost, killing photographer Anja Niedringhaus and wounding veteran correspondent Kathy Gannon.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.