By Hashmat Baktash and Shashank Bengali, Los Angeles Times
KABUL, Afghanistan — Three American doctors were killed Thursday when an Afghan police officer opened fire inside one of Kabul’s leading hospitals in the latest deadly attack aimed at foreigners in Afghanistan.
The shooting occurred at Cure International Hospital of Kabul, a 100-bed hospital that specializes in surgery and maternal and child health and treats 37,000 patients annually, the vast majority of them Afghans. The facility is run by Cure, a Christian medical charity that runs hospitals and health programs in 29 countries.
“With great sadness we confirm that three Americans were killed in the attack on Cure Hospital,” the U.S. Embassy in Kabul said in a Twitter statement. “No other information will be released at this time.”
Security officials said that a police officer working at the checkpoint closest to the hospital came into the facility through a visitor’s entrance at about 9:30 a.m. and fired on an American doctor who was welcoming three colleagues for a meeting.
The shooter was also wounded in the incident and he’s under treatment inside the hospital, said the Kabul police chief, Gen. Mohammad Zahir.
Dr. Yousof Khan, the hospital’s deputy director, said that one of the Americans was a pediatrician who had worked there for six years treating patients and training Afghan doctors, midwives and health workers.
A Taliban spokesman said he was aware of the shooting but did not know whether members of his organization were responsible.
The attack came three weeks after an Afghan police officer shot two foreign journalists from the Associated Press in eastern Khost province, killing photographer Anja Niedringhaus and wounding reporter Kathy Gannon. The Taliban did not claim responsibility for that attack, but the shooter, who was arrested, reportedly sought revenge on foreigners for a NATO airstrike near his home.
In January, Taliban insurgents in Kabul attacked a Lebanese restaurant popular with foreigners, killing 21 people. Last month insurgents killed nine people at Kabul’s luxury Serena hotel and later attempted to attack a Christian-run day-care center but ended up mistakenly attacking a heavily guarded compound next door.
AFP Photo/Shah Marai