By Mario Trujillo - 04/24/14 08:04 AM EDT
The White House blasted an attack that left three American workers dead at a hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan as "despicable and cowardly" in a statement Thursday.
"The United States continues to strongly support those in Afghanistan who abhor this violence and are working to build a peaceful, prosperous future for themselves," said National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden.
"We remain proud of all Americans serving in Afghanistan, working shoulder-to-shoulder with Afghan partners toward our shared goal of a sovereign, stable, secure, and democratic Afghanistan."
Reuters reported that the three workers were killed when a security guard opened fire at the hospital. The U.S. embassy in Kabul confirmed the deaths in a post to their Twitter account.
According to CURE International, which facilitates the hospital, the guard shot himself but survived. He was initially treated at the facility where the attack took place, before being transferred into the custody of the Afghan government.
The three killed were all doctors. One had worked at the hospital for a number of years; the other two were a visiting father and son, according to reports. Another American was also injured.
"This was an inhumane and brutal action, and unfortunately will impact our health services," Health Minister Suriya Dalil said, according to Reuters.
The CURE hospital has been in operation since 2005, after the Afghan Ministry of Public Health invited the organization to take over. It also acts as a training hospital for doctors and nurses.
According to its website, it specializes in maternity and child health, general surgery and family health. It has 27 doctors and 64 nurses.
CURE was founded in 1996. It has doctors in more than 29 countries and is based in the United States and the United Kingdom, according to its website.
The shooting took in the same month that an Afghan police commander shot and killed an Associated Press photographer and wounded another journalist in the country.
There have been multiple cases of the country’s police or military killing troops in the country over the past few years, peaking in 2012. While the Taliban has sometimes taken credit for similar shootings, Reuters reported the group had not commented on Thursday’s incident.
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said more cooperation with the Afghan government is needed as the United States prepares to withdraw troops from the country at the end of the year.
“Our future involvement very much depends upon the Afghan government keeping us safe, keeping those civilians who are working in Afghanistan safe, and also keeping our soldiers in a safe environment,” he said on MSNBC. “Quite frankly, they haven’t done what they need to do.”
—Updated at 12:23 p.m.