Teachers survive assault by Taliban
Published 20/08/2011 | 05:00
TWO female teachers survived a Taliban attack on the British Council in Kabul early yesterday morning by spending five hours hiding inside a panic room as a firefight raged outside.
The dawn assault by insurgents was timed to mark the anniversary of Afghanistan's independence from Britain.
The terrorists killed a New Zealand SAS soldier and up to 10 Afghan guards, policemen and passers-by.
The two unidentified teachers, one British and one South African, were asleep when a car bomb detonated at 5.40am and fled with their British bodyguard to a panic room.
All were unharmed, but the women, who worked for the British Council, were said to be traumatised and shaken.
The bomb allowed five attackers, wearing suicide vests and carrying assault rifles, heavy machine guns and grenades, to breach the compound's defence walls. Once inside the compound, at least one militant took up a defensive position in a basement, Afghan police said, and defied security forces for hours.
Explosions and heavy gunfire erupted from the scene for most of the day.
Afghan police and commandos backed by SAS troopers from New Zealand surrounded the compound in a northern suburb of the city and took nine and a half hours to dislodge and kill the final attacker.
A New Zealand SAS soldier was killed during the fighting to clear the compound, the country's defence ministry said.
Lt Gen Rhys Jones said the soldier was shot in the chest and was the first member of the New Zealand SAS to die while in action in Afghanistan. (© Daily Telegraph, London)