UK se­cu­rity firm says 5 em­ploy­ees among 10 killed in Kabul at­tack

A mas­sive crater marks the spot where the mil­i­tants det­o­nated a ve­hi­cle bomb

The Gulf Today - - ASIA -

Kabul:british­se­cu­ri­tyir­mg4s­said on Thurs­day that ive of its em­ploy­ees were among at least 10 peo­ple killed in a Tal­iban-claimed at­tack on one of its com­pounds in Kabul.

A mas­sive crater marked the spot where the mil­i­tants det­o­nated a ve­hi­cle bomb out­side the com­pound late on Wed­nes­day be­fore try­ing to ight their way in­side in the lat­est vi­o­lence to rock the Afghan cap­i­tal.

G4S, which pro­vides se­cu­rity for Bri­tish diplo­mats, said one Bri­ton and four Afghans were killed in the at­tack.

Ear­lier, Afghan author­i­ties had said at least 10 peo­ple had been killed in the at­tack, but it was not im­me­di­ately clear if that toll in­cluded the G4S em­ploy­ees.

“It is with great sad­ness that we can conirm that ive of our em­ploy­ees were killed and 32 were in­jured, ive of them se­ri­ously,” man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Charlie Bur­bridge said in a state­ment.

“We are com­mit­ted to our se­cu­rity role in sup­port of the peo­ple of Afghanistan, and we are de­ter­mined that in­ci­dents such as this will not pre­vent the vi­tal work that the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity con­ducts from con­tin­u­ing,” he said.

Afghan in­te­rior min­istry spokesman Na­jib Dan­ish told AFP ear­lier that 10 peo­ple were killed in the at­tack — all of them Afghan na­tion­als.

But po­lice spokesman Ab­dul Basir Mu­jahid said author­i­ties were still work­ing to iden­tify the na­tion­al­i­ties of the vic­tims.

“Five at­tack­ers were in­volved, one det­o­nated his ve­hi­cle at the gate, and four oth­ers were on foot and they en­tered the build­ing,” Dan­ish told AFP.

An AFP pho­tog­ra­pher on Thurs­day could see the shat­tered re­mains of a small van ly­ing in the mid­dle of the de­bris. Parts of nearby build­ings in the in­dus­trial area of eastern Kabul were twisted by the vi­o­lence of the blast.

One sur­vivor, Ab­dul Mo­ham­mad, told AFP he and his nephew had just passed the com­pound when the bomb det­o­nated.

“I lost con­scious­ness but re­gained it in a few min­utes,” he told AFP from his hos­pi­tal bed.

“I felt a lot of de­bris hit­ting us. I tried to pick my nephew up but couldn’t do it... I re­alised he was dead.” Bes­mul­lah Ta­ban, po­lice chief for the district in which the at­tack hap­pened, said that when se­cu­rity forces en­tered the com­pound they found 230 peo­ple hid­ing in its safe room, in­clud­ing 36 Afghans, adding they were all res­cued.

G4S, which ac­cord­ing to its web­site pro­vides se­cu­rity for Bri­tish diplo­mats in Kabul, was also tar­geted in an at­tack in March, when a sui­cide bomber det­o­nated his ex­plo­sives be­fore reach­ing the en­trance of the com­plex. Two civil­ians were killed in that at­tack. Wed­nes­day’s as­sault came hours af­ter Afghan Pres­i­dent Ashraf Ghani an­nounced the for­ma­tion of a team for prospec­tive peace talks with the Tal­iban, as the United Na­tions re­newed calls for di­rect ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween Kabul and the in­sur­gents.

The Afghan gov­ern­ment, West­ern diplo­mats and UN ofi­cials have in re­cent weeks raised hopes of in­ally reach­ing a deal to end the 17-year war.

Such op­ti­mism has been tem­pered by con­tin­u­ing at­tacks, in­clud­ing the killing of three US soldiers ear­lier this week when an im­pro­vised ex­plo­sive de­vice det­o­nated in the south­east­ern province of Ghazni.

At an in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ence on Afghanistan in Geneva, Ghani said the 12-per­son ne­go­ti­at­ing team in­cludes both men and women and will be led by his chief of staff Ab­dul Salam Rahimi.

But the Tal­iban have once again re­jected Ghani’s over­tures, say­ing in a state­ment Thurs­day that it con­sid­ered the gov­ern­ment in Kabul “im­po­tent” and a “waste of time”.

As­so­ci­ated Press

Se­cu­rity forces inspect the site of a sui­cide bomb at­tack in Kabul on Thurs­day.

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