Many of you would have seen on the news recently that the British Council in Kabul was subject to a ferocious and deadly attack on 19 August. Luckily all international staff survived - a testament to the robust security measures in place and dedication of those employed to protect us.
Tragically, this protection came at a cost, and three Afghan security guards working for the British Council died - Abdul Rashid, Mohammed Ayub and Gulagha. Two Ministry of Interior Protocol Police also died - Sultan Mohammad and Mujeebulrahman, as well as a member of the New Zealand Special Forces. Several Ghurkha guards were injured, but showed immense bravery during a prolonged and intense period of fighting.
It’s easy to forget living in the relative safe haven of the Embassy that we are working in a conflict zone, and the attack was a salient reminder that not everyone supports our work in Afghanistan. The worst part of the attack is that Afghans themselves paid the ultimate price for defending the work we do in their country.
The Embassy held a memorial service a couple of weeks ago for the courageous people that defended the British Council compound. It was an opportunity for all of the British Embassy, including DFID, to show our appreciation to the people that protect us every day, and to pay our respects to the families of the Afghan guards that died.
Despite this awful event, morale at the Embassy remains high. Our British Council colleagues have been inspiring throughout this event, and have worked tirelessly. On Sunday, 9 days after the attack they re-opened their office on their new site within the British Embassy compound to continue the vital work they do - such as building civil society and equipping young Afghans with the skills to succeed in the market place. Together, we will continue to work to secure a better and safer future for all Afghans.