South Asia

Two Britons dead in Kabul attack

The Nato bus was blown over by the force of the explosion.
Image caption The Nato bus was blown over by the force of the explosion.

Two British contractors were among 13 members of the Nato-led force killed in a suicide attack in Afghanistan on Saturday, the Foreign Office has said.

A Taliban suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden car into a Nato bus carrying members of the International Security Assistance Force in Kabul.

The Isaf forces and civilian staff were initially thought to be all American.

The Britons were identified after their US employer Fluor Corp contacted the UK embassy to report them missing.

The body of one of the Britons has already been repatriated to Britain, while the second person had been living in the US and his remains would be returned there, sources told the BBC's Quentin Sommerville in Kabul.

Fluor Corp later confirmed the deaths, but said that out of respect for their families their names would not be released.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and loved ones of our co-workers. Right now, our focus is on helping them deal with the situation," a spokesman for the Texas-based engineering and construction company said.

The Foreign Office did not release any details on the pair either.

"Our thoughts are with the families of all who died: Isaf personnel and contractors; Afghan forces and civilians," the Foreign Office said.

"Consular staff in Kabul are in close touch with the employer of the deceased. We stand ready to provide any consular assistance needed to their families."

The Pentagon had initially said all the Isaf personnel were American, but Canada then confirmed that one was Canadian.

Three Afghan civilians and a police officer were also killed.

It is estimated that more than 2,000 British people work as private contractors in Afghanistan - the bulk of them security contractors.

The attack happened near Darulaman Palace, the bombed-out seat of Afghanistan's former kings on the south-west outskirts of the capital.

The suicide attacker driving a red Toyota Corolla detonated the bomb just as the armoured bus was passing at 11:20 (06:50 GMT on Saturday). The bus was blown over by the force of the explosion.

There has been an increase in militant attacks across Afghanistan in recent months, despite the presence of more than 130,000 foreign troops.

The Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel to Kabul.

In its most recent travel advice it said the threat from terrorism was considered high, and an increase in attacks was expected, particularly on foreign and Afghan national interests, as "insurgents attempt to destabilise the ongoing transition of security to Afghan National Security Forces".

Saturday's attack was the deadliest on foreign forces since the Taliban killed 30 US forces in August by shooting down a helicopter.

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