It is with deep sadness that I write today, mourning the loss of three lives that were taken by force at the CURE International Hospital compound in Kabul, Afghanistan.
One of these men, Dr. Jerry Umanos, had faithfully served the Afghan people as a pediatrician at the hospital for more than seven years, caring for the most vulnerable members of society — children and premature infants — and helping them survive the harsh realities of childbirth in Afghanistan. We may never know the number of future doctors, teachers, or law enforcement officers who were given the chance to live full and healthy lives because of the work of the CURE International Hospital staff and the service and sacrifice of Jerry and his family.
I knew Jerry personally and can testify to the excellence with which he served and trained Afghan doctors and nurses in the highest quality medical practices. My heart is deeply grieved for his wife and family, as well as the families of the other men killed, who were not employees of CURE International but guests of our hospital. One other guest also sustained a non-life-threatening injury.
The shooter was not an employee of CURE International, but rather a member of the Afghan police detail assigned to protect the hospital. The assailant shot himself after the attack and was taken into surgery by Jerry’s colleagues at the hospital before being transferred out of our facility into the custody of the government of Afghanistan. We don’t yet know the motivation of the assailant and are still working very closely with the Afghan authorities to learn all the details surrounding this tragic incident.
I want to emphasize that CURE International remains committed to loving and serving the people of Afghanistan. We are also deeply committed to protecting the health and welfare of our patients and staff. This is the first fatal incident at our facilities in Afghanistan since coming to the country in 2002, and today’s tragedy reinforces our need for vigilance.
Since 1996, CURE International has been serving children and families in desperate need of surgical care with the highest quality medical techniques, restoring bodies that were broken and bearing witness to the transformation of lives and families throughout the world. We do this not because it is what Jesus would do, but because it is what He did; and so we cannot help but see these needs, know that there is a cure, and meet hurting people where they are. That is what Jerry did and that is what we are called to do for children and families around the world.
Please pray with the 1,600 CURE employees worldwide that God would comfort the families of these victims as well as all those affected by this tragedy and give them a peace that truly defies human understanding.
Walking in love,
President & CEO