Kabul attack: Destitute SA doctor desperate to come home

Rianna du Plessis says the Taliban attack has left her sister Hannelie broken and destitute.

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.

JOHANNESBURG - A South African doctor whose family was murdered by Taliban gunmen in Afghanistan is relying on the country's foreign mission in Pakistan to arrange her documentation to get back home with the bodies of her loved ones.

Aid worker Werner Groenewald, his son and daughter died in an attack on Saturday in the capital Kabul.

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

Rianna du Plessis says the Taliban attack has left her sister Hannelie broken and destitute.

"All her bank cards, documentation, passport and everything else was destroyed in the fire. She could recover nothing from the house. She lost her family... she lost everything."

Du Plessis says her sister desperately wants to come home.

"She said she's calmer during the day because she needs to get a lot of things done, but I don't think she's coping well."

She says Groenewald is expected back in South Africa this week.

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

The guesthouse was home to staff of the US-based charity Partnership in Academics and Development (PAD).

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

Groenewald's family had lived in Afghanistan for nearly 12 years.

The Kabul police chief resigned on Sunday following the attack.

The latest Taliban attacks have dented confidence in the country's security force and added to concern the police and army will struggle to hold strategic territory after most foreign troops pull out at the end of 2014.

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.


Du Plessis has dismissed the Taliban's claim that the family were Christian missionaries.

Hannelie's sister, says Groenewald, a former pastor from Pretoria, moved to Afghanistan in 2002 to help the community.

The Taliban claimed in a statement that the couple was converting Muslims to Christians.

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

This was the second time this year the Taliban targeted a group that it said had links to Christianity