Midstate nonprofit committed to Afghanistan

Written by witf Staff Report and The Associated Press | Apr 24, 2014 12:32 PM

(Lemoyne) -- A midstate-based health care nonprofit says it's working closely with authorities investigating a shooting at their Kabul hospital that killed three, including a U.S. doctor and wounded a U.S. nurse.

Mark Knecht, Cure International's chief financial officer, told reporters outside the group's headquarters in Lemoyne, it "remains committed to serve the people of Afghanistan.''  

He also is asking for prayers for "the families of the victims and those affected by the shooting, as well as the peace in Afghanistan.''  

Knecht says Dale Brantner, president and CEO, is traveling internationally and is expected to issue a statement at some point.

The Chicago Tribune reports Dr. Jerry Umanos, who practiced in Chicago for 16 years, was the doctor killed in the attack

An Afghan security guard opened fire this morning on a group of doctors at the Cure International Hospital. Knecht says the hospital is focused on maternity and pediatric care and serves 37,000 patients annually.

Senator Bob Casey released a statement on the incident: 

“My thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the Americans killed and the medical personnel injured in Kabul this morning. These individuals generously gave their time helping to treat women and children with disabilities in Afghanistan. Their dedication and selfless service is remarkable.

While Afghanistan has made tremendous gains in the last decade, specialized health services such as those provided at the Cure International Hospital in Kabul are often unavailable. I deeply appreciate the work of the organizations that provide much needed medical care for women and children in Afghanistan and applaud those medical professionals who have made the sacrifice to help build a better, healthier world for all.”

From earlier today:

(Kabul, Afghanistan) -- One of the three American doctors who were shot and killed today by an Afghan security guard at a hospital in Kabul was with Cumberland County-based Cure International, and had worked with children in the Afghan capital for seven years. 

The other two were a father and son. An American nurse was wounded in the attack.  

Cure International is located in Lemoyne. The nonprofit established a hospital in Kabul in 2005 and employs 27 doctors and 64 nurses.

According to its website, the facility averages about 37,000 patients annually and the medical staff handles some 2,600 operations each year. It specializes in maternal and child care, general surgery and family health.

The security guard opened fire on a group of foreign doctors, in the latest in a string of deadly attacks on foreign civilians in Afghanistan this year.

Police say the attacker was a member of the protection force that was assigned to guard the hospital.

According to a health ministry spokesman, the gunman was wounded in the attack -- apparently shot by other security forces -- and underwent surgery at the same hospital under heavy police guard. 

It's not clear whether the Taliban were behind today's shooting, though the insurgents have claimed responsibility for several major attacks that killed foreign civilians this year.  

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