District Police Chief Hafiz Khan told reporters that a police guard suddenly fired on the staff he was assigned to protect at Kabul’s Cure International Hospital, reported USA Today. The hospital’s specialties include maternal and child health, general surgery, and family health.
“Five doctors had entered the compound of the hospital and were walking toward the building when the guard opened fire on them,” said Kanishka Bektash Torkystani, a Ministry of Health spokesman. “Three foreign doctors were killed.”
USA Today also reported a statement from Sediq Sediqi, a spokesman for the Ministry of the Interior, who in turn cited information provided by Afghanistan’s Criminal Investigation Department.
Sediqi said that the gunman, whom eyewitnesses identified as a policeman, is alive and at a military hospital after being shot in the stomach by other police officers inside the hospital. “We will find out the motive because he’s alive,” Sediqi said.
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul released a statement reading, in part:
The U.S. Embassy condemns the deplorable act of violence at the CURE International Hospital of Kabul today, which resulted in the deaths of three American citizens. Those killed in the attack were humanitarian workers dedicated to improving the lives of Afghans by providing a full range of medical services including reconstructive surgery to children with physical disabilities and pre- and post-natal care for mothers. This act of terror has deprived the citizens of Afghanistan of valuable medical expertise.
CNN identified the slain doctor as Dr. Jerry Umanos, a senior pediatrician at Cure, who had previously practiced medicine in inner-city Chicago. Afghan Minister of Public Health Suraya Dalil told CNN Newsroom that Umanos was at the hospital’s gate to allow the other victims, who were his guests, into the building, when the guard opened fire. The two Americans killed with Umanos, though not identified, were medical staffers.
“He loved the country, he loved the people, he loved to teach,” one of Umanos’ former colleagues told CNN. “As much as we love and miss him, all of us have a certain level of respect and contentment knowing Jerry died doing what he loved most.”
In addition to his regular medical practice, Umanos helped train Afghan doctors at the hospital and at community health center.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid would neither confirm nor deny his organization’s involvement in the shooting, telling the New York Times: “We are aware of this shooting at the CURE hospital and our investigation is ongoing, but we do not know if it was carried out by our men.”
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