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U.S. Doctors Killed at Kabul Charity Hospital by Afghan Guard

April 24 (Bloomberg) -- An Afghan security guard today shot dead three American doctors at an international hospital in Kabul, the latest incident in which foreign civilians have been the targets of fatal violence in the nation.

The attack took place at the Cure International Hospital in western Kabul. The 100-bed facility founded in 2005 treats disabled Afghans and provides maternity services, according to its website.

“With great sadness we confirm that three Americans were killed in the attack on CURE hospital,” the U.S. Embassy in Kabul said today in an e-mailed statement. It didn’t provide more information.

A hospital security guard turned his weapon against American doctors, killing three of them, Mohammad Hafiz Khan, a district police chief in western Kabul, said in a phone interview today.

The attack occurred about 9:50 a.m. The identities of the victims weren’t immediately released.

The assailant was wounded and was in custody, and a female doctor also was wounded, Afghan Interior Ministry Spokesman Siddiq Siddiqui said in a phone interview. The attacker failed in an attempt to kill himself after shooting the doctors, Siddiqui said.

The motivation for the attack wasn’t known and an investigation was being conducted, Siddiqui said.

Taliban Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed denied responsibility for the deaths in a phone interview.

U.S. Withdrawal, Elections

The guerrilla group is “aware of the attack and investigating whether it was involved,” Mujahed said in a phone interview from an undisclosed location.

Kabul has been hit by wave of attacks in the past months, killing and wounding tens of Afghan and foreign civilians. They’ve occurred as U.S.-led forces prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan this year, leaving security duties to Afghan forces.

The violence also has occurred as the nation is in the midst of presidential elections. Afghanistan started its second-ever presidential voting on April 5. More than seven million Afghans defied Taliban threats and cast ballots, doubling the turnout from 2009. Preliminary results are likely to be released this Saturday, April 26, with final results due May 14.

An Afghan policeman shot two female foreign Associated Press journalists on April 4, while they were reporting on the elections. One was killed and another was seriously wounded.

Last month, Taliban fighters assaulted a guest house used by Roots of Peace, a U.S.-based charity, killing two people including a girl. In a March 21 attack on Kabul’s Serena hotel, nine people, including four foreign civilians, were shot dead by Taliban militants.

The Taliban attacked a Lebanese restaurant in Wazir Akbar Khan area, a district of Kabul housing embassies and other international organizations, in January. Some 21 people, including 13 foreigners, were killed in that incident. In March, a Swedish journalist was shot dead by unknown gunmen near the same neighborhood.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eltaf Najafizada in Kabul, Afghanistan at enajafizada1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Daniel Ten Kate at dtenkate@bloomberg.net Dick Schumacher

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