The Indianpost

Tributes paid to Kabul battle dead

The Government extended its sympathy over the death of a New Zealand special forces soldier killed during an attack on the British Council in Kabul.

Taliban suicide bombers killed at least eight people, including the soldier and three Afghan security guards, after storming the cultural exchange charity’s offices yesterday.

Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt said he was “deeply saddened” by the soldier’s death, and thanked New Zealand for its role in bringing the “dreadful incident” to an end.

In a statement, Mr Burt said: “I was deeply saddened to hear of the death of a New Zealand special forces soldier who was killed while helping counter the attack on the British Council compound in Kabul. On behalf of the British people I would like to express my sincere gratitude to him and pass on my condolences to his family and friends.

“The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has spoken to (New Zealand’s) prime minister John Key, to pass on our sympathies and to thank New Zealand for the role their special forces played in bringing this dreadful incident to a close. Our thoughts are also with the Afghan security personnel who were killed or wounded during the attack.”

The insurgents waged an eight-hour gun battle at the charity’s compound as two terrified female teachers took refuge in a panic room. The English language teachers, one British and the other South African, escaped unhurt but were left deeply traumatised by their experience.

They were asleep when suicide attackers used a car bomb to blast through the walls of their compound in the west of the Afghan capital early yesterday.

Along with their male British bodyguard, they fled to the panic room as the heavily-armed militants holed themselves up in the building and fought off Afghan and Nato security forces for eight hours.

UK-based private security firm G4S, which provides protection for the British Council in Kabul, confirmed that three of its Afghan employees were killed and six others, three Nepalese former Gurkhas and three Afghans, were injured. Afghan officials said a number of policemen and a street cleaner also died in the attack.

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