Accidents Foreign News

Kabul Intercontinental Hotel siege leaves more than 40 dead, Afghanistan official says

Written by Maritime First

…As Much-needed foreign doctors consider leaving U.K after Brexit***

More than 40 people were killed after Taliban gunmen stormed the Intercontinental Hotel in Afghanistan’s capital on Saturday, a government official told Fox News on Sunday.

The assault by six “heavily-armed” assailants pinned down security forces for more than 13 hours before the last attacker was killed, as guests were forced to flee the building while parts of the structure caught fire.

Some guests couple be seen shimmying down tied-together bedsheets from upper-floor windows, while others were rescued by Afghan forces. The heavily-guarded luxury hotel is popular among foreigners and Afghan officials.

A man tries to escape from a balcony at Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel during an attack by gunmen in Kabul, Afghanistan January 21, 2018  (REUTERS/Omar Sobhani)

Interior Ministry spokesman Najib Danish said at a press conference among those killed included a foreigner and a telecommunications official from the western Farah province who was attending a conference. Six other people, including three security forces, were reported wounded and more than 150 people, including 41 foreigners, were rescued from the hotel, Danish said.

At least 11 of those killed were employees of KamAir, a private Afghan airline, Danish said at a news conference. KamAir put out a statement saying some of its flights were disrupted because of the attack.

In the meantime, the National Health Service has been described as the closest thing Britain has to a national religion. Created after World War II, the NHS provides free health care to all U.K. residents.

But even before Britons voted to leave the European Union, the financially strapped NHS was beset by workforce shortages. It has long relied on foreigners to fill its ranks, with around 5 percent of its staff coming from Europe.

Now Brexit Britain’s departure from the 28-country bloc in March 2019 — is making matters worse, particularly among general practitioners.

The NHS is so beloved that part of the opening ceremony for the London 2012 Olympic Games paid tribute to its workers. Jae C. Hong / AP, file

The fall in the value of the pound and the perception that Britain is less welcoming to foreigners has made both recruiting and retaining European staff a challenge. Many E.U. citizens living in the U.K. not only feel rejected but are wary about what the future may hold for their status as immigrants.

“This is our home. We are not here as tourists,” said Hubertus von Blumenthal, a general practitioner from Germany who is based just outside Cambridge. “With the referendum that all changed. We woke up in the morning and it felt like the rug was pulled from under us.”

Von Blumenthal, 56, has lived in the U.K. for as long as he did in Germany. He arrived at 28 to work as a doctor, but is now planning to retire early from the NHS and is looking for a job in Germany, Switzerland or Luxembourg.

Britain came to a draft agreement with the E.U. in December that the rights of the 3 million E.U. citizens living in the U.K. will be enshrined in law and enforced by British courts. Details of the plan are unclear, however, and von Blumenthal for one remains suspicious.

Fox News with additional report from NBC

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Maritime First