(Story photo from CURE International) [Cover photo by USSOCOM]
Afghanistan (MNN) ― With the announcement of a U.S. troop drawdown over the next 15 months, there's now a jostle for power in Afghanistan.
Politicians and military officials are scrambling to be ready for the reins by the time the surge troops are gone. Peace talks are underway with Taliban members while the fragility of the nation hangs in the balance.
The CURE International team with a 110-bed maternal health and surgical hospital in Kabul is taking the announcement in stride. Spokesman Joel Worrall says, "From our perspective, U.S. troops on the ground have been extremely useful and effective. We've had a number of security threats and governmental challenges over the time that we've been there--over those six years. The fact that there's been a U.S. presence in the country has been a benefit for CURE International."
However, Worrall notes that their staff is not naïve. "When we first took over the hospital, doing a full security threat analysis was one of the top priorities." Six years later, despite concerns over a turbulent transition, their team has no plans to leave. "We've never had a direct threat on the hospital itself, but because of where we are in Kabul, there have been circumstances where insurgent activity has affected us."
Worrall adds that it's always prudent to have plans in place should an emergency arise. "We have staff on board and have particular protocols that we implement throughout the hospital to keep the doctors and the patients and the families that are at our hospital safe."
At this point, "We're just praying that God allows us to fulfill our commitment to the Afghan people, and that as this troop drawdown occurs, peace continues to be the order of the day," says Worrall.
Today, CURE International Hospital of Kabul is considered one of the leading medical institutions in Afghanistan. Worrall says the hospital represents many things to many people. "We're a ministry of presence. We're there representing Jesus Christ in a country that's going through an awful lot of turmoil."
"We're known as a Christian presence in that country, but we have tremendous relations not only with the locals, but also with the Muslim population," Worrall says, adding that besides providing care, the hospital also offers training programs for doctors and nurses. Programs include obstetrics and gynecology, pathology, orthopedic surgery, general surgery, plastic surgery, as well as general practice.
Commitment keeps the outreach moving forward. "The people need the care that we're providing. We're there offering that because of what we believe to be true about who God is," explains Worrall. For the nation of Afghanistan, it is a source of hope in a time of uncertainty. "Pray for the safety of our doctors and nurses, and for our patients. Pray for continued stability."