An Afghan security guard opened fire on a group of foreign staff at a Kabul hospital yesterday, killing three US doctors and wounding a US nurse, officials said.
The shooting at Cure International Hospital in western Kabul was the latest in a string of attacks on foreign civilians in the city this year.
Two of the dead Americans were a father and son, Minister of Health Soraya Dalil said, adding the third American was a Cure International doctor who had worked for seven years in Kabul.
Dalil said an American nurse was also wounded in the attack.
"A child-specialist doctor who was working in this hospital for the last seven years for the people of Afghanistan was killed and also two others who were here to meet him, and they were also American nationals, were killed," Dalil said. "The two visitors were father and son, and a woman who was also in the visiting group was wounded."
The attacker was a member of the Afghan public protection force assigned to guard the hospital, according to district police chief Hafiz Khan. He said the man's motive was not clear.
The gunman was wounded and in custody.
"Five doctors had entered the compound of the hospital and were walking toward the building when the guard opened fire on them," Kanishka Bektash Torkystani, a health ministry spokesman, said. "Three foreign doctors were killed."
The US embassy in Kabul confirmed that three American citizens had been killed in the hospital attack but said it had no other information.
According to its website, the Cure International Hospital was founded in 2005 by invitation of the Afghan government. It sees 37,000 patients a year, specialising in child and maternity health plus general surgery. It is affiliated with the Christian charity Cure International, which operates in 29 countries with the motto "curing the sick and proclaiming the kingdom of God".
The Afghan capital has seen a series of attacks on foreign civilians this year, a worrying trend as the US-led military coalition prepares to withdraw most troops by the end of the year.
It was unclear whether the Taliban was behind yesterday's shooting, though the insurgents have claimed several major attacks.
In January, a Taliban attack on a Kabul restaurant killed more than a dozen people, while in March gunmen slipped past security at a hotel and killed several diners in its restaurant. Two journalists were killed and another wounded in two separate attacks.