Cameron says Kabul attack won't affect work, thanks NZ

19th August 2011, Comments 0 comments

Prime Minister David Cameron said a "particularly vicious and cowardly" suicide attack on the British Council cultural centre in Kabul on Friday would not stop his country's work in Afghanistan.

Cameron also said he had spoken to New Zealand Prime Minister John Key to thank him for the role that country's special forces had played in ending the raid, in which eight people were killed.

"It's obviously a tragic but cowardly act that has been undertaken but it won't succeed and it won't deflect us from the vital work we are doing in Afghanistan," Cameron told reporters in his central England constituency.

"It will not stop the British Council and indeed our whole effort in Afghanistan to bring greater stability and peace to that country."

Britain is the second-largest provider of troops to the international military effort fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan after the United States, with around 9,500 forces based mainly in the south.

Cameron confirmed that New Zealand special forces had helped Afghan troops in killing the attackers.

"I have spoken to the New Zealand prime minister to thank him for the incredibly brave and hard work of New Zealand forces who helped bring this appalling situation to a conclusion," the British premier said.

He also hailed the role of Afghan security forces, amid concerns about the ability of the country's fledgling army and police to cope with a Taliban insurgency ahead of the withdrawal of Western combat troops by 2015.

Taliban suicide bombers infiltrated the British Council compound, prompting gunbattles which raged for more than eight hours on Friday, a public holiday marking Afghanistan's 1919 independence from British rule.

The British Council is an official organisation part-funded by the British government that promotes cultural relations in offices around the world.

British Council chief executive Martin Davidson said earlier in London that three Britons -- two female teachers and a male protection officer -- were trapped inside the building during the attack but were rescued unharmed.

© 2011 AFP

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