Filipino workers in Afghanistan safe, says DFA

THE Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Friday, December 29, assured that no Filipinos were reported among the casualties in the suicide bombing of a Shiite cultural center in Kabul, Afghanistan.

In a statement, the DFA quoted a report by the Philippine Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, which said that all the estimated 1,500 Filipinos working in Kabul and the rest of Afghanistan were safe. The embassy in Islamabad has jurisdiction over Afghanistan.

The Philippines joined other nations in condemning the attack, which has been claimed by terrorist group Islamic State (IS).

“We condemn this senseless act of violence that deliberately targeted innocent civilians, many of them young students and even some women and children,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in the same statement.

An Islamic State suicide bomber struck a Shiite cultural center in Kabul on Thursday, December 28, killing at least 41 people and underscoring the extremist group's growing reach in Afghanistan even as its self-styled caliphate in Iraq and Syria has been dismantled.

Read: Islamic State kills 41 in attack on Afghan cultural center

Local Shiite leader Abdul Hussain Ramazandada said the bomber slipped into an academic seminar at the center and blew himself up among the participants. More bombs went off just outside the center as people fled.

The IS-linked Aamaq news agency said four bombs were used in the assault, one strapped to the suicide attacker. It said the center was funded by Iran and used to propagate Shiite beliefs. (SunStar Philippines with AP)
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