The Taliban have marked the anniversary of Afghanistan’s independence from Britain with a huge, multi-stage attack on the British Council. reports The Guardian.The attack is reported to have killed eight Afghan police officers, one foreigner and a member of New Zealand’s special forces.
The attack had three distinct phases.
- First, a suicide bomb was first set off in a key street being guarded by Afghan police.
- Another suicide bomb destroyed the compounds wall.
- Then eight or nine heavily armed gunmen stormed the compound, shooting towards the British Council building.
After several hours of gunfights, with attackers using AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenade, all attackers are believed to have been killed. One lone gunman is believed to have held off a number of soldiers for a number of hours.
A combination of Nepalese ex-Gurkha soldiers and soldiers from New Zealand helped guard the compound, the BBC reports. British and US soldiers later arrived at the scene.
The British Council is a quasi-governmental institution that works to promote British culture across the world. The biggest task it has in Afghanistan is teaching English, The Guardian reports, with a particular focus in Kabul on teaching girls.
According to The Telegraph a number of British teachers sleeping in the compound were taken to a “panic room” by their bodyguard.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid issued a statement later that took credit for the attack:
“Today is our independence day from Britain. They recognised our independence 92 years ago – today’s attack was marking that day.
“Now the British have invaded our country again and they will recognise our independence day again.”