Trend – Killing of Americans at Kabul hospital highlights foreigners’ risk
KABUL – The death toll of three Americans at a charity hospital on Monday announced a sad trend that arose in the months-long United States-led war in Afghanistan as foreign civilians are killed when troops.
The blatant attack on a policeman at CURE International hospital in Kabul, serving 37,000 Afghans a year, surprised even this war-weary city and seemed to reduce the population and declining foreigners working in the capital.
At least 22 foreign civilians have been killed this year in attacks on non-military targets, including a Lebanese restaurant, a luxury hotel and foreign journalists covering preparations for the April 5 presidential election. The figure is the number of United States-led coalition troops killed this year, although nine of those deaths were due to non-hostile incidents.
As international forces are accelerating their withdrawal, Afghan soldiers and police have taken cumbersome security responsibilities. The Taliban and their supporters, for their part, have infiltrated these forces to commit “insider” attacks on international troops.
Now, some fear that insurgents have shifted their tactics, choosing to aim slightly supervised to put pressure on the targets of Western countries, although their remaining military forces – including about 30,000 US troops – parked far from the front lines.
“They can be considered as the soft low-wind operation, an easy way to hit Western governments instead of trying to fight the NATO and military and potentially a very effective way to direct aid Foreign and Afghan Influence “Kate Clark, director of the Afghanistan Network Analysts, a research organization based in Kabul, recently wrote.
The Taliban denied responsibility in Thursday’s shooting as they did earlier this month after a police officer fired two Associated Press journalists who were part of a convoy of election workers in Khowst province in the east Of Afghanistan.
The attack took place on Thursday 9 to 30 hours, in the west of Kabul to one of the main medical centers of the capital. Created in 2005 by CURE International, a Pennsylvania-based Christian charity that manages hospitals and health programs in 29 countries, the hospital specializes in mother and child health. It also deals with birth defects such as fistula and cleft lip and consists of Afghan doctors, nurses and midwives.
Staff were found Thursday in the process of treating their own comrades and the gunman, who committed suicide. It was returned to the Afghan authorities.
Hospital authorities identify one of the victims as Dr. Jerry Umanos, who divides his practice between Kabul and Lewndale Christian Health Center in Chicago. In 2005, umanos and his wife, Jan, moved to Afghanistan, where he coordinated one of the few medical training programs in the country, according to a profile on the Lawndale site.
“He was a great person, a great doctor. It is a great loss,” said umana’s stepmother Angie Schuitema. “He did what he wanted to do. He thanked God for allowing him to help the people there.”
Lately, umanos was worried about his safety in Kabul, telling a friend in the United States that he was shot while running.
“I was obviously worried,” said friend Art Jones, a doctor who has visited twice umanos in Kabul. “At the same time, you can not count the number of children Jerry touched the lives he saved and the doctors trained, that’s what it was, it was done by the kids.”
The CURE hospital, along a busy street, is considered more modern and more hygienic than in Afghanistan, and patients sometimes travel for hours on buses to get treatment there. It is monitored by private security personnel as well as Afghan police stationed at border checkpoints.
An officer at the nearby checkpoint arrived at the hospital by a visitor entrance and fired umanas and two American visitors greeted, said Afghan security officials. The couple, a father and a son, were not part of the hospital staff, said Dr. Yousof Khan, deputy director of the hospital. The assailant also injured a fourth American whose affiliation with the hospital was unclear, Khan said.