Bodies of Kabul attack victims handed over to their families

Kathmandu, June 22

The government today airlifted mortal remains of the 12 Nepalis who were killed in Monday’s terrorist attack in Kabul, and handed them over to their families.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa were present at Tribhuvan International Airport when Nepal Airlines Corporation’s chartered Airbus landed with the bodies from Afghanistan this afternoon.

As many as 24 Nepalis who used to guard Canadian Embassy in Kabul, along with the deceased, also returned home in the same NAC flight fearing security in the war-torn country.

“The government will take appropriate steps to lend support to the families of the deceased and those injured,” PM Oli said while offering condolences to the victims. He condemned the attack calling it a cowardly and an inhuman act.

All the 24 returnees had gone to Afghanistan via the official channel and were hired by Sabre International to guard the Canadian Embassy.

“I couldn’t continue my work after the gruesome killing of my colleagues,” said Satya Narayan Shrestha of Lamjung. He was on duty at the Canadian embassy when the bomber targeted the convoy of Nepali guards. “Those who were killed or injured in the attack were coming to replace us for duty,” he added.

Shrestha, 42, was in the Nepali Army before he left for Afghanistan almost 10 years ago. Earlier, he used to guard the United States and Australian embassies based in Kabul. He had been working in the Canadian mission since January.

Nuwakot’s Ratna Bahadur Tamang, who also returned from Kabul today, said the attack was targeted against Nepali guards, as Taliban had earlier threatened to ‘eliminate’ those who protected their enemies — Americans, their allies and NATO forces. “We hear that Taliban have threatened more attacks against Nepali guards hired by Sabre International,” he said. “That is why we decided to return home.”

According to him, a total of 147 Nepalis were hired by the British firm before the attack, and now most of them want to return home.

Meanwhile, the International Relations and Labour Committee of the Parliament today directed the government to take initiative to evacuate Nepalis working in troubled hotspots like Afghanistan.

The House panel has also directed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to take diplomatic initiative to end illegal flow of Nepalis to work in war zones like Afghanistan and Iraq.

It also recommended strong action against the individuals and agencies involved in such unlawful acts.