At least nine people were killed in an suicide-bomb attack on the British Council in Kabul today.

It was believed the attack was launched by the Taliban to mark the anniversary of British independence from Britain in 1919.

A suicide bomber blew himself and another car packed with explosives just before dawn this morning.

After the explosion, witnesses said between two and four armed insurgents came from a side street shouting, firing their guns in the air and running towards the compound’s open front gate.

Among those killed in are eight Afghan police and one foreigner.

Jumadin, who works at a petrol station nearby, said the force from the first blast threw him to the ground.

He said: "I thought I was going to die.

"When the policemen rushed to the area from the police district at least three were shot dead near the building."

All Brits caught up in the attack are safe now, said the Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt.

He added: "It is a sad fact that once again an attack aimed at the international community has killed Afghans.

"This attack, against people working to help build a better future for Afghanistan, will not lessen the UK's resolve to support the Afghan people."

Hotel in Kabul attacked by suicide bombers

Fighting between the attackers and security forces including British troops and New Zealand special forces continued for six hours.

The west Kabul compound hosts the British Council and two of Afghanistan’s top politicians including the oppositian leader and one of President Hamid Karzai’s vice presidents.

A Taliban spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahid said they were aiming for the British Council and a guesthouse which was not actually in the compound – although they believed it was.

He added: “We attacked the buildings because we want to remind the British that we won our independence from them before and we will do it again."