The British employee of G4S who was killed in a Taliban bomb and gun attack on the company’s compound in Kabul has been named as Luke Griffin. The security firm said the 33-year-old lived in the Merseyside area and had worked for the firm for eight years.
Five Afghan nationals also died in the attack, including four who also worked for G4S. The attack started when a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-packed lorry into the gate of the G4S compound in eastern Kabul on Wednesday evening, and was followed by an hours-long gun battle with militants armed with grenades and automatic rifles who stormed the compound building.
Najib Danish, a spokesman for the Afghan interior ministry, said: “Five attackers were involved. One detonated his vehicle at the gate and four others were on foot and they entered the building.”
Initial reports said that 10 people had died in the attack, but Afghan officials revised the number of victims to six.
Charlie Burbridge, the managing director of G4S, said: “It is with great sadness that we can confirm that five of our employees were killed and 32 were injured, five of them seriously, in an unprovoked, criminal attack on one of our compounds in Kabul.
“Next of kin have been informed and our thoughts at this difficult time are with the loved ones of those who have died and been injured, and our brave team in Afghanistan who have lost colleagues and friends. We are offering support and counselling to all of those affected.”
He thanked the British embassy, the Foreign Office, the British and Afghan armed forces, other Nato forces and other private security companies “who have all assisted us as we ensure our operations in Kabul are secure and continue safely”.
Burbridge added: “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.”
G4S provides security for the British embassy in Kabul, among other clients.
A spokesman for the Foreign Office said: “We are working closely with G4S following the attack on its facilities in Kabul, which led to the death of five of its workers, including one British national.”
The attack left a large crater and caused significant damage to nearby buildings. Witnesses described seeing the wreckage of a small van, possibly the vehicle used in the attack.
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 said 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.”
Rohullah Azimi, whose brother was among the wounded, said: “The ones in power are all betrayers and have made Afghanistan a battlefield.”
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a tweet.