Pretoria: The Department of International Relations and Cooperation has confirmed that eight South Africans were among those killed on Tuesday morning when a suicide bomber blew himself up in the Afghan capital Kabul.
Speaking to eNews Channel Africa a short while ago, 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 will be rendered to the families and friends.
A suicide bomber reportedly rammed his 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.”
The 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 Hezb-e-Islami of Afghanistan, the second largest insurgent group in the country, has claimed responsibility for the attack.
A spokesperson with the Hezb-e-Islami, with Gulbuddin Hakmatyar as its leader, told local media via phone that a woman suicide bomber of the group targeted and killed nine foreigners, allegedly in retaliation for an anti-Islam film produced by an American entity recently in the United States.