Conflict & Justice

8 South Africans among 14 killed by suicide bomber on Kabul airport road (VIDEO)


Afghanistan investigators inspect the site of a suicide attack in Kabul on September 18, 2012. A suicide bomber blew himself up alongside a minivan carrying foreigners on a major highway leading to the international airport in the Afghan capital, police said, killing at least 10 people, including nine foreigners.



JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Eight South Africans were among 14 people killed Tuesday morning in a suicide bomb attack on the main road to Kabul's international airport.

The targeting of a minibus carrying foreigners was a revenge attack over a US-made anti-Islam video that has spurred violent protests in Muslim countries around the world, according to the militant group that claimed responsibility.

Afghan insurgent group Hizb-i-Islami said it was behind the attack, carried out by a young female suicide bomber, and warned of further violence. 

A South African foreign affairs spokesman confirmed that eight South Africans, all believed to be working for an aviation charter company, were among the dead. 

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"We have received the names of the deceased and are working on establishing contact with families and next of kin," spokesman Nelson Kgwete said, according to the South African Press Association.

The BBC said that three Afghans, including a passer-by and a mechanic, were also killed in the blast. It is thought the minibus had stopped to refuel at a gas station near the airport at the time of the attack.

Beeld, an Afrikaans-language newspaper, said that a woman who handled operations for the aviation company was among the South Africans killed. Three of the men killed were pilots, and four were flight engineers, Beeld reported.

Eyewitness News reported that the South African victims were employees of ACS Balmoral, based at Johannesburg's Rand Airport. The company is struggling to contact the families of the victims, according to the report.

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South Africa's main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, condemned the attack in Kabul and the violent protests that have taken place in recent weeks.

"The perpetrators of such hateful crimes have no regard for the sanctity of human life — either their own, or that of the innocent victims they take with them," DA spokesman Ian Davidson said in a statement.