KABUL, Afghanistan – Three Americans – a pediatrician and a father and son – were killed by an Afghan government security officer at a hospital Thursday, the latest in a series of attacks on foreign civilians that has rattled aid workers, contractors and journalists.
Another American, a female medical worker, was wounded in the attack at Cure International Hospital of Kabul, run by a U.S.-based Christian charity, and the gunman also was wounded, officials said.
The hospital staff performed surgery on the attacker, who had shot himself, before he was handed over to Afghan authorities, Cure said in a statement. However, Interior spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said the assailant was shot by other security guards.
The attacker’s motive was not clear, police said, and there was no Taliban claim of responsibility.
As international troops withdraw, civilian workers increasingly fear they are considered prime targets by militants. Some are rethinking their safety – and even whether they will stay.
All three of the dead were identified as American doctors by Bektash Torkystani, a Health Ministry spokesman. But the U.S. Embassy confirmed only that three American citizens had been killed. Cure said a doctor was killed.
Among the dead was Dr. Jerry Umanos, a 57-year-old pediatrician from Chicago, according to his mother-in-law, Angie Schuitema. The Lawndale Christian Health Center in Chicago said Umanos worked there for more than 16 years before moving to Afghanistan in 2005.
Health Minister Soraya Dalil said the other two dead Americans were a father and son, who were visiting, and a U.S. nurse was wounded.
The shooting continued a deadly pattern of attacks on civilian targets in Kabul.
In January, a Taliban attack on a popular restaurant killed more than a dozen people. In March, gunmen slipped past security at an upscale hotel and killed several diners in its restaurant. Two foreign journalists were killed and another wounded in two separate attacks.
But attacks on Western civilians have not been limited to Kabul. On April 4, an Afghan police officer shot two Associated Press journalists working in the eastern province of Khost, killing photographer Anja Niedringhaus and wounding veteran correspondent Kathy Gannon.
The hospital shooting is also the second “insider attack” by a member of Afghan security forces targeting foreign civilians this month.
The hospital attacker, who has not been identified, served in the Afghan Public Protection Force and was assigned as a guard at the facility, District Police Chief Hafiz Khan said. The APPF is an armed security force under the Interior Ministry that was created to protect foreign organizations.