Family pay tribute to 'father figure' killed in Kabul

The family of a New Zealand man killed in a suicide bombing on a visit to Afghanistan say they didn't want him to go. 

Epsom resident Hashem Slaimankhel was just hours away from boarding a plane home to Auckland, when a Taliban suicide bomber detonated an ambulance packed with explosives. 

The attack left at least 95 dead and 150 injured. 

Mr Slaimankhel fled Afghanistan in the 1980s. He spoke of the country's violence in a 2010 interview.

"It's a really hard decision," he told Newshub at the time. "We don't want to leave home, we're still missing a lot, but sometimes life is in danger. 

"What can we do? There are no other choices."  

After coming to New Zealand as a refugee, he founded the Afghan Association and helped hundreds of families settle here.

They included nephew and former Warriors player Omar Slaimankhel, who came to the country as a child. He says his success is thanks, in part, to his uncle.

"If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't have had the life I have now, playing footie," he told Newshub.

"If it wasn't for him, who knows where I'd be. I probably wouldn't be having this chat with you." 

He says Mr Slaimankhel was an inspiring figure in New Zealand's Muslim community.

"He's a father figure to us all, to be honest, not just our family, but everyone in the community. There's not a day gone past that he hasn't helped someone in need." 

More than 2000 civilians have been killed in Afghanistan in just the past nine months. 

US President Donald Trump says decisive action is needed, and NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern agrees. 

"I think there's always been a need for decisive action," she said, after news of Mr Slaimankhel's death broke.

"Particularly when there's been the indiscriminate loss of innocent life, as members of our refugee community here in New Zealand are now experiencing in the most terrible way."

Mr Slaimankhel's nephew says he left an impact that will last for generations.

"If there were more people like him in this world, then we wouldn't have to worry about anything like this happening."