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Afghanistan: Three Christians killed in Taliban attack

01 December 2014

Three Christians killed in Taliban attack

Taliban attackers have killed three South African Christians during a four-hour attack on their guesthouse in Kabul, Afghanistan. Werner Groenewald (46), his son Jean-Pierre (17) and daughter Rode (15) were murdered. Werner's wife, Hannelie (45), was working in a local clinic when the attack took place.

According to Werner's sister-in-law, Riana du Plessis, Werner was first shot in the leg, but still managed to go upstairs. He wanted to protect the children, but all three of them were killed. "The house was overrun by three insurgents," she told News24, a South African news website. "One of them was a suicide bomber and the other two had guns in their hands. They took other staff members hostage. After they killed Werner and the children, the house was set alight."

One local Afghan was also killed during the attack. The rest of the hostages escaped with no physical injuries.

'There to uplift Afghanistan'

According to an online biography, Werner had received a calling for cross-cultural work in Afghanistan in April 2002, following some years as a Pastor of the Moreleta Park Dutch Reformed Church in Pretoria, South Africa. But Du Plessis denies that he was a 'secret missionary': "They thought Werner was a missionary trying to convert Muslims to Christians, but Werner was not. He was an aid worker there to uplift Afghanistan. He did great work. They lost a great person in Afghanistan. I don't know what legacy he will leave behind."

Afghanistan is often called the 'most dangerous place in the world' for aid workers because of the way in which Taliban and other extremist groups have targeted foreign aid workers. For local Christians, however, the situation is even more grave. The Afghan constitution does not recognise the existence of Afghan Christians; they therefore have no protection. Open Doors experts say that within Afghanistan there are individual followers of Christ and small groups of believers, but no organised church as such, and no definite number of Christians can be given.

Believers lack education and training, and leadership is scarce. The security situation makes it impossible for Christians to meet. Having Scriptures and Christian resources available in their homes is virtually impossible as the risks are too high. Christians are trained by Christian radio and TV programmes and rely heavily on the Afghan church in exile.

Source: News 24; Open Doors

Please pray:

  • For God's comfort for Hannelie, other family members, friends and colleagues of the family
  • For the protection of other aid workers in Afghanistan
  • For the local church, that they will stay / become strong.

More News from Afghanistan:

Find out more about persecution in Afghanistan.