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Kabul attack: Dad tried to protect kids from gunmen

A relative says the attack appears to have been well-planned and targeted at Werner Groenewald.

People pass by the office of a charity a day after an attack by Taliban militants in Kabul, Afghanistan on 30 November 2014. Picture: EPA.

JOHANNESBURG - A relative of the three South Africans who were murdered in an attack in Afghanistan says her brother-in-law was trying to protect his two children when they were executed by Taliban gunmen.

Aid-worker Werner Groenewald, his 17-year-old son Jean-Pierre and 15-year-old daughter Rhode, died in an attack on a guesthouse in Kabul by the Taliban in the country's capital Kabul on Saturday.

Groenewald's wife Hannelie was not harmed as she was at a local hospital at the time where she works as a doctor.

Several other foreigners were also killed during the attack.

The South African government is still trying to gather information on the incident.

Rihanna du Plessis says details are slowly emerging of the attack that's believed to have been well-planned and targeted at her brother-in-law.

"The Taliban entered the premises disguised as policemen. There was one suicide bomber. The other guys actually entered the house."

Du Plessis says her sister told her that her husband was hunted down.

"They actually entered Werner's office and they shot him in the leg and when Werner ran upstairs to safeguard the kids, they went upstairs, shot Werner again and then they shot Rhode and Jean-Pierre. They bled to death."

She says the house was then torched before a four-hour gun battle ended the siege with the death of the two attackers.

At the same time, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) says it's expecting an update later today on the attack.

Dirco's Nelson Kgwete says the country's foreign mission in Pakistan is investigating.

"We have taken note of the allegations that they were mistaken for missionaries. All of that remains unconfirmed until we receive a report to that effect from the mission in Islamabad, which has got access to authorities in Afghanistan."

Groenewald's family had lived in Afghanistan for nearly 12 years, with Werner running the charity and Hannelie working as a doctor at a Kabul clinic.

A number of foreigners have been attacked in the country's capital over the past two weeks.

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.

In separate attacks in Kabul, two American soldiers, two British embassy workers and dozens of Afghan civilians have died.

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