18 September 2012
The Department of International Relations and Cooperation has confirmed that eight South Africans were among 12 people killed in a suicide bombing in the Afghan capital Kabul on Tuesday morning, apparently in retaliation for an anti-Islam film made privately in the US and posted on the internet last week.
Speaking to eNews Channel Africa around midday on Tuesday, the department’s spokesperson, Nelson Kgwete, said few details were known at this stage as officials were still making calls and gathering information.
“As I’m speaking to you, the officials from my department are busy on calls to confirm other details,” Kgwete said.
He said the department wished to express its sincere condolences to the families of the victims, adding that necessary assistance would be rendered to families and friends.
A suicide bomber reportedly rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into a minibus carrying foreign staff of a local company on Tuesday morning, killing eight foreigners and a local driver.
Three passers-by were also killed and two security officials were injured by the bombing that took place along the main road, leading to the airport in Kabul’s sub-district 15.
Kgwete said the department was busy working with officials in Afghanistan to verify the names of the deceased. He could not disclose the identities until their next-of-kin had been informed.
“We are working with authorities and as soon as all the processes have been completed, we will prepare for the repatriation of the bodies.”
Xinhua news agency reported that several buildings and wedding halls near the site were also damaged by the blast.
The government troops immediately cordoned off the area shortly after the blast.
Meanwhile, it is believed that Hizb-i-Islami, the second largest insurgent group in Afghanistan, has claimed responsibility for the attack.
A spokesperson with Hizb-i-Islami, with Gulbuddin Hakmatyar as its leader, told local media via phone that a woman suicide bomber of the group had targeted and killed nine foreigners, allegedly in retaliation for an anti-Islam film made privately in the US and posted on the internet last week.