By Andy Park
A teenage suicide bomber detonated a bomb outside the NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) headquarters in Kabul on Saturday, killing four members of an Australian-founded skateboarding school, Skateistan.
A statement on their website said “We are very sad to learn that of the six young children confirmed to have passed away, four of them were students, volunteers and youth leaders at Skateistan, who were well-loved and well-known faces for the entire team in Kabul.”
The organisation identified the victims as Khoshid – a girls’ skate teacher, Nawob – a volunteer teacher in boys’ skate sessions, Mohammad Eeza – a long-time Skateistan student, Parwana – An 8-year-old sister of Khoshid and Navid – Seriously injured in hospital.
The Australian-founded skateboarding school was created in 2007 by Australian skater Oliver Percovich and aimed to use skateboarding as a tool of empowerment.
It began as a Kabul-based Afghani charity, and is now an International not-for-profit providing skateboarding and educational programming in Afghanistan, Cambodia and Pakistan.
40 per cent of the charity’s students were girls.
14-year-old Khorshid was an instructor with Skateistan.
According to reports from Afghan security officials, who immediately arrived on scene to secure the area, the suicide attacker was a teenaged youth.
ISAF spokesman Brig. Gen. Günter Katz condemned the attacks.
“Forcing underage youth to do their dirty work again proves the insurgency’s despicable tactics. They are completely detached from Afghan society and the interests of the Afghan people who desire peace and stability in their country,” he said.
Abdul Qudos Amini is the country manager for the program in Afghanistan.
“Sixty per cent of out students are working on the street [so] we knew where our students are working [at the time of the bomb],”
“I was in a house, then I heard the bomb and went directly to the emergency hospital. When I arrived in emergency hospital there was lots of shock and crying,”
“Nawob, he was our student and he was our best skateboarder two years running,”
“Now [he] has passed away because he was exactly near the small kid who had the bomb on his back,” he said.
“It’s very sad news” he said, as he breaks down remembering how he went and visited families of the dead afterwards.
“The families are totally devastated. They say why are these things always happening to poor street kids?
(L to R) Khoshid – a girls’ skate teacher and Mohammad Eeza – a long-time Skateistan student and another member where three of the four victims of the teenage suicide bomber attack in Kabul on Saturday. (FILE: SKATEISTAN)
SBS asked if him the program will be affected by the lost of four students and leaders.
“No, no no. We will just continue our work and we will try to find other ways how we can protect our students,” he said.
The school was the subject of the 2011 documentary film Skateistan: To Live and Skate in Kabul.
Skateistan has established an Emergency Fund at Crowdrise.com in memory of the victims.