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Policeman kills three US doctors at hospital

Afghan police stand guard outside the Cure hospital. Picture: Getty

Afghan police stand guard outside the Cure hospital. Picture: Getty

  • by KAY JOHNSON IN KABUL
 

THREE Americans, including a father and his son, were shot dead by an Afghan policeman at a hospital in the capital, Kabul, officials revealed yesterday.

The hospital, which specialises in children’s health, is run by Cure, a small United States-based Christian charity.

The attacker, who was shot and wounded, has been taken into police custody.

A spokesman for Afghanistan’s interior ministry said the motive for the shootings was unknown at this stage.

Two of the dead were a father and son, both doctors, said health minister Dr Soraya Dalil. She said the third doctor had worked for Cure International for seven years in Kabul.

Dr Dalil said at least one other person, an American nurse, was injured in the attack.

She said: “A child specialist doctor working in this hospital for the last seven years was killed and also two others who were here to meet him, and they were also American nationals.

“The two visitors were father and son. A woman also in the visiting group was wounded.”

The attacker was a member of the Afghan Public Protection Force assigned to guard the hospital, said police chief Hafiz Khan. He said the gunman had been taken to hospital for surgery to injuries he sustained when he shot himself. He remains under guard.

Kanishka Bektash Torkystani, a health ministry spokesman, said: “Five doctors had entered the compound of the hospital and were walking toward the building when the guard opened fire. Three foreign doctors were killed.”

The Cure International Hospital was founded in 2005 at the invitation of the Afghan health ministry. It sees 37,000 patients a year, and specialises in child and maternity care as well as general surgery. It is affiliated with Cure International, which operates in 29 countries with the motto “curing the sick and proclaiming the kingdom of God”.

Kabul has seen a spate of attacks on foreign civilians this year as the US-led military coalition prepares to withdraw most troops by the end of December.

Officials said it was not yet known if yesterday’s shooting were the work of the Taleban, though the insurgents have claimed several major attacks that killed foreign civilians this year, an escalation after years of targeting foreign military personnel and Afghan security forces. Last night the policeman was named locally as Ayunullah. There were also reports his family were being questioned in the eastern city of Jalalabad.

In January, a Taleban attack on a Kabul restaurant with suicide bombers and gunmen killed more than a dozen people.

In March gunmen slipped past security at a hotel in Kabul and killed nine diners – including a journalist, his wife, and two of his children – in its restaurant.

Two foreign journalists were killed and another wounded in two separate attacks.

The hospital shooting is also the second “insider attack” by a member of Afghan security forces targeting foreign civilians this month. On 4 April an Afghan police officer shot two Associated Press staff in the eastern province of Khost, killing photographer Anja Niedringhaus and wounding veteran correspondent Kathy Gannon.

 
 
 

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