Kabul attack victim accused of preaching Christianity

The Taliban claimed in a statement that Werner and Hannelie Groenewald were converting Muslims to Christians.

A picture released by the family shows the Groenewald family. (L-R) Werner Groenewald (46) head of an education charity, his son Jean-Pierre (17) and his daughter Rode (15) were killed in the latest Taliban strike in Kabul on 29 November 2014. Picture: AFP/Courtesy of the family.

PRETORIA - A relative of three South Africans murdered in a terrorist attack in the Afghan capital has dismissed the Taliban's claim that the family were Christian missionaries.

Aid worker Werner Groenewald, his son Jean-Pierre and daughter Rhode died in the attack on Saturday in the capital Kabul.

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

Riana du Plessis, Hannelie's sister, says Groenewald, a former pastor from Pretoria, and his wife moved to Afghanistan in 2002 to help the community.

The Taliban claimed in a statement that the couple was converting Muslims to Christians, a claim du Plessis denies.

"They were not doing Christian work in the region."

She says her sister is now trying to repatriate the bodies but is struggling because all her travel documents were destroyed in the attack.


Its emerged the attack was well-orchestrated and may have been the second attempt on their lives following a bomb blast last week.

Du Plessis says about a week ago, her sister told her about a terror attack at their home but because of the high Taliban activity in the city, she didn't appear concerned.

"The bomb blast happened outside her room but she didn't feel her life was in danger."

She says the well-planned attack started with a suicide bombing at the entrance to the compound before two gunmen attacked the family.

"They went upstairs and shot Werner again and then they shot the children."

It's understood South African authorities are helping Groenewald via their consulate in Pakistan.

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.