Suicide bomb attack

MARYKE PENMAN
Last updated 09:30 12/07/2012
afghan
Photo: MUSADEQ SADEQ

BOMBSITE: A police special force member mans a compound at the scene of militants attack, in Kabul.

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A policeman has spoken of his dramatic survival when a car load of suicide bombers rammed a fortified compound in Afghanistan.

Browns Bay resident Superintendent Neil Fisher is stationed in Bamyan Province until September as contingent commander of a police mission.

Operation Highland 15 involves a team of five New Zealand policeman who have joined the European Police Mission as part of the reconstruction of war-torn Afghanistan.

On a visit to Kabul, Mr Fisher was woken shortly after 6am when a group of Taliban insurgents rammed a vehicle full of explosives into the compound gate.

The Taliban issued a statement to say the attack was a response to US President Barack Obama's surprise visit just hours earlier.

Seven civilians, including a family, and a number of security guards were killed.

But the New Zealand contingent escaped unscathed.

"I was asleep when the attack came and my initial thoughts were that it was a rocket or mortar attack," Mr Fisher says.

"The accommodation was so fortified I couldn't believe the perimeter had been breached."

A number of heavily armed insurgents entered the compound at which point a three-hour gun fight began involving police, security and civilians.

"All those that entered had an array of weapons and had suicide bombs strapped to themselves," Mr Fisher says.

As an armed officer Mr Fisher took up a post securing a bunker complex within the resort and protecting other civilian guests.

"It was quite tense at the time, we didn't know if there were still insurgents hiding in the rooms," Mr Fisher says.

"The collapsed ceilings in the building added to the surrealism and it felt like a film set."

Once the gun fire died down Mr Fisher joined fellow New Zealander Detective Sergeant Eddie Lyttle and other international police in a search for remaining insurgents, including one who had barricaded himself inside an unoccupied building.

All insurgents were eventually killed.

"Looking at the evidence you would have to say that mass casualties was their plan," Mr Fisher says.

"As this is a conflict zone things do happen and then it reminds you why we are are. The fact no guests were killed is testament to the security of the compound."

Extra measures have been taken to secure the compound against further attacks.

The hardest part of the six-month deployment has been leaving family and friends behind, Mr Fisher says.

"If I could be anywhere else right now it would be sitting in the sun having a coffee looking across the beach at Browns Bay."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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