The majority of the deaths in Saturday’s suicide bombing by the Taliban, near the headquarters of the Nato-led international coalition, were members of the skateboarding initiative ‘Skateistan’.
Background of SkateistanUSA Today reported that the Australian director and founder, Oliver Percovich, began introducing skateboarding to Afghanistan in 2007 after following a girlfriend to the country.
He secured funding from the governments of Canada, Norway, Denmark and Germany and was provided with land next to the National Stadium by the Afghan National Olympic Committee.
VictimsDigital Journal previously reported about the attack on 8 September. Now more information has become available regarding the background of the victims.
ESPN reports that a Skateistan statement 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 Skateistani members among the dead were named as follows:
Nawab, 17, a volunteer instructor and one of the original Skateistan participants (also the winner of the 2012 Go Skateboarding Day competition on June 21 at Skateistan's indoor skatepark facility);
Mohammad Eeza, 13, another of the original Skateistan participants;
Khorshid, 14, a female skate teacher;
Parwana, 8, a new recruit (youngest sister of Khorshid).
Assad (cousin of Khorshid and Parwana) was also killed and another Skateistan volunteer, Navid, aged14, was seriously injured by shrapnel from the blast.
According to the Hindustan Times in total six civilians were killed and five wounded.
A report by the BBC on 8 September stated that the Taliban had claimed they were behind the attack and that the attacker was in his twenties. However, the police said the suicide bomber was a fourteen-year-old boy, on a motorbike.
The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) issued a statement condemning the Kabul suicide bombing:
KABUL, Afghanistan (Sept. 8, 2012) — The International Security Assistance Force condemns today's suicide attack in Kabul, which killed several innocent Afghan civilians. According to reports from Afghan security officials, who immediately arrived on scene to secure the area, the suicide attacker today was a teenaged youth. Attacks like these exploit vulnerable individuals, coercing them into committing horrible acts. Initial casualty reports indicate only Afghan civilians suffered injuries or died from the explosion. "If these reports are true, by taking advantage of an impressionable child to carry out this attack, the insurgents display cowardice. 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," said Brig. Gen. Günter Katz, ISAF spokesman. "I offer my condolences to the families and loved ones of any innocent civilians killed today as a result of this attack," Katz added.Film
A short film ‘Skateistan: To Live And Skate Kabul’ can be viewed below. Towards the end of the video, Murza, a 16-year-old Skateistan skate boarder, says that he hopes that someone who is able to bring peace leads his country. He believes that until then, the future is uncertain.
An emergency fund for Skateistan has been set up on Crowdrise. So far $4,435 has been raised, already exceeding the goal of $3,500.