KABUL, Afghanistan -- Four of the youngsters killed in a weekend suicide bombing in the Afghan capital were associated with an international nonprofit group called Skateistan, which runs a skateboarding school in Kabul, the organization said Tuesday.
The four, killed Saturday in the powerful explosion a short distance from the headquarters of the NATO force, ranged in ages from 8 to 17, and two of them were sisters, the group announced on its website. More than half of the children taking part in Skateistan’s programs work in the streets to support their families, selling items such as maps and chewing gum.
The area of Kabul where the attack took place is home to many foreign embassies as well as the headquarters of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force. Child vendors can be found there daily, clamoring for attention and small change from passing foreigners.
“It is ... with great pain and heavy hearts that we share our memories of children who were not just victims of senseless violence, but also beautiful human beings who will never be forgotten by their teachers, peers, co-workers, students, friends or family,” said a statement from the group.
The two girls were identified as a 14-year-old named Khorshid and her 8-year-old sister, Parwana. The boys were Nawab, a 17-year-old who had won a competition staged by the organization this summer, and 13-year-old Mohammad Eeza. Another boy associated with the group, identified as 14-year-old Navid, was seriously hurt in the explosion.
Skateistan was founded in 2007 by an Australian skateboarder named Oliver Percovich, and grew out of his being mobbed by street kids in Kabul when he showed off his skateboard. Initially a shoestring operation, the group has built a skate park in the Afghan capital, runs skateboarding and education programs in three countries and has been the subject of a book and a documentary film.
-- Laura King
Photo: An Afghan police officer stands guard at the scene of a suicide bombing in Kabul on Saturday. Four of those killed in the blast were members of Skateistan, an international nonprofit group that promotes skateboarding. Credit: Ahmad Jamshid / Associated Press