Patient kills foreign Red Cross staffer in Afghanistan

By The Associated Press | Posted - Sep. 11, 2017 at 8:00 a.m.

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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A physiotherapist working at the International Committee of the Red Cross' rehabilitation center was shot by a patient in Afghanistan's northern Balkh province, a statement released by the ICRC said.

Spanish national Lorena Enebral Perez, 38, was "a skilled and caring physiotherapist who assisted patients, especially children," the statement said, quoting the ICRC's head of delegation in Afghanistan, Monica Zanarelli.

"Energetic and full of laughter, Lorena was the heart of our office. Today, our hearts are broken," Zanarelli added.

Lorena's work involved helping children, women and men who lost limbs or with other forms of disability learn how to walk and feed again themselves.

"The violent fluctuations of life seem particularly cruel today," the statement said.

It was not immediately clear if Monday's attack was politically motivated or related to a personal dispute.

Sher Jan Durani, a spokesman for the provincial police chief, said two suspects have been arrested.

Physical rehabilitation was one of the ICRC's first activities in Afghanistan, starting in Kabul in 1988, according to the organization, which now has seven centers across the country.

The seven centers manufacture more than 19,000 artificial legs, arms and other orthopedic devices a year and treat hundreds of thousands of patients, according to the ICRC.

Last week, two local ICRC staff members were released after being held by an armed group for seven months. The two were abducted on Feb. 8 while on their way to assist in the northern Jawzjan province with six other colleagues, who were shot and killed. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, and the Taliban denied involvement.

Elsewhere in Afghanistan, a Taliban suicide bomber targeted international forces on patrol in the northern Parwan province, in an attack that wounded three Afghan civilians, according to Gen. Zaman Mamozai, the provincial police chief. He was not aware of any casualties among the foreign troops.

A statement issued by the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission said that a small number of service members and Afghan civilians were wounded when a suicide attacker targeted their convoy with a vehicle carrying an improvised explosive device.

"The wounded service members were taken to the Bagram Airfield hospital for treatment. None of the injuries are considered life threatening," the statement added.

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, claimed responsibility for the attack.

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