A British-South African aid worker gunned down in Afghanistan last week was buried in a cemetery in Kabul in a heavily guarded funeral attended by about 50 friends, family and colleagues.

Gayle Williams, shot dead on Monday in a killing claimed by the insurgent Taliban movement, had asked to be buried in Afghanistan where she worked with disabled children, those close to her said.

Friends and family — including her mother Patricia and sister Karen, who arrived from Britain and South Africa respectively — wept as her coffin was lowered into the ground.

The funeral, in the city’s historic British cemetery, was attended by British diplomats and watched over by police and guards.

Williams’ relatives were taken to meet President Hamid Karzai at his palace afterwards.

The Taliban said the 34-year-old aid worker was targeted because SERVE Afghanistan, the organisation she worked for, was “preaching Christianity” — a charge rejected by the group.

On Saturday a British man and a South African man were shot dead by their Afghan guard, who then turned the gun on himself.

The motive for the killing is unclear but it has added to security concerns among expatriates based in the city, which has suffered a series of dramatic attacks this year.

The Taliban insurgents have carried out a record number of attacks this year since the hardliners were removed from government in late 2001 in a US-led invasion.