SA citizens killed in Kabul attack identified

A father and his two children were killed yesterday during a Taliban attack targeting foreigners.

Afghan officials are pictured on a foreign compound following an attack by Taliban militants in Kabul on 30 November, 2014. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The three South Africans killed in Kabul in Afghanistan have been identified.

AFP reports that 46-year-old Werner Groenewald, his 17 year-old-son Jean-Pierre and his 15-year-old daughter Rhode were killed yesterday during a Taliban attack targeting foreigners in Kabul.

Werner's wife Hannelie was working at a hospital at the time of the attack.

Her sister, Riana du Plessis says after Hannelie's family was killed their house was burnt down.

The department of international relations says it can't confirm the report as its still gathering information.

Taliban fighters breached the perimeter of Camp Bastion in the southern Afghan province of Helmand three days ago, just one month after the base was handed over to the Afghan army.

The attacks of recent days have renewed fears that Afghanistan's army and police are unable to secure the country.

The charity whose Kabul guest house was targeted in the latest such assault on Saturday, the US-based Partnership in Academics and Development (PAD), said on its website that three people were killed by insurgents who used guns and explosives.


Kabul's Police Chief Zahir Zahir resigned shortly after announcing the death of the three South Africans which are the latest in a spate of recent attacks in the city.

Kabul's police spokesman declined to comment on the reason for the chief's resignation.

"We can only confirm... he will not continue his job as police chief anymore," Hashmat Stanekzai said.

Violence across Afghanistan has surged this year as the Taliban and their allies have stepped up their activities ahead of the scheduled withdrawal of most international troops by the end of next month.

Over the past 10 days, three compounds used by foreign organisations have been hit by armed attackers. In separate attacks in Kabul, two American soldiers, two British embassy workers and dozens of Afghan civilians have died.

The Taliban said on Saturday they had attacked the foreign guesthouse because they believed it to be a Christian center. This was the second time this year the Taliban targeted a group that it said had links to Christianity.

PAD, which supports education in Afghanistan, could not be reached immediately for comment.

The South African victims were members of a devout Christian family that had lived in Afghanistan for nearly 12 years, with the father running the charity and the mother working as a doctor, said a colleague at the Kabul clinic where the mother worked.

The 17-year-old son had been applying to universities in the United States. His sister was 14, said the colleague, who asked not to be identified for security reasons.

Meanwhile, Afghan soldiers finally ousted a group of Taliban from the former Camp Bastion. By Sunday, fighting at the base had ended and troops were clearing the area that had been seized by a few dozen insurgents, said Omar Zwak, a spokesman for the Helmand governor.

Further north in Helmand's Sangin district, a smaller army post was attacked and 12 soldiers killed in fighting on Friday and Saturday, Zwak said.