Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 

Kiwi Engineer in Kabul Bomb Blast

Kiwi Engineer in Kabul Bomb Blast

Maunsell's Senior Electrical Engineer Mike Breckon is shaken but OK this morning after a weekend with more excitement than the rugby finals.

Breckon is leading a team of Maunsell consultant engineers on an Asian Development Bank project to bring electricity into Afghanistan by way of transmission lines from surrounding countries. He was waiting for his evening meal to arrive with two colleagues in the Indian restaurant of the Intercontinental Hotel, Kabul on Saturday night when at 7.30pm, most of the lights went out.

This in itself is not unusual in Kabul, however all were taken completely off guard a few minutes later when there was a huge explosion outside, all the windows were blown in and the room filled with white smoke. One of Breckon's colleagues was blown off his chair, and the others followed him to the floor, yelling for the remaining hotel patrons to do likewise. Breckon and his colleagues had been sitting by the front window of the restaurant, but luckily were saved from serious injury by the heavy curtains, which were drawn at the time.

The group crawled out of the restaurant into the hotel lobby which soon filled with about 60 or 70 people. There was broken glass everywhere but miraculously nobody was hurt. Unbelievably the waiter followed them out ? his only concern payment for the meal, which had not even been served! Breckon's worry at that point was that there could be further explosions. The group was prevented from evacuating the building by staff and later learnt that that the whole area had been secured and vehicles could not enter or leave.

The UN Security declared an alert on the radios which all international personnel carry, and requested that all UN personnel restrict any further movements around the city. Some ISAF military personnel entered the hotel about 9.30pm and advised that the explosion was caused by a remote detonated or timed bomb outside the north face of the hotel. They were going to patrol the surrounding area for the rest of the night so the safest option was to remain in the hotel for the night. Needless to say, nobody got very much sleep.

At day break Sunday morning Breckon got a chance to survey the damage. The north face of the hotel was superficially damaged with ceiling panels and numerous windows blown out. The cause appears to have been a bomb placed on a masonry wall about 30 m in front of the hotel. Breckon's hotel room on the first floor had one third of the windows blown out, and colleagues on the fifth floor had their laptop computers blown off the desks.

This morning Breckon reported back to Maunsell in Auckland "The security situation is quite tense here at the moment - probably the worst since I've been [this is his 9th visit over the last year]." "The UN have issued instructions that there should be no new missions until mid-January because of the forthcoming elections, the targeted attacks against foreign personnel in the south, and concerns about the resurgence of the Taliban factions. We have been instructed to 'keep a low profile' in the meantime." Breckon is due back in New Zealand next week, and has relocated to a Kabul guesthouse in the mean time.

The Intercontinental Hotel sits on a prominent hill in Kabul, right next to where the Constitutional Loya Juga Elections are due to start next month.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Voluntary Administration: Renaissance Brewing Up For Sale

Renaissance Brewing, the first local company to raise capital through equity crowdfunding, is up for sale after cash flow woes and product management issues led to the appointment of voluntary administrators. More>>

Elsewhere:

Approval: Northern Corridor Decision Released

The approval gives the green light to construction of the last link of Auckland’s Western Ring Route, providing an alternative route from South Auckland to the North Shore. More>>

ALSO:

Media Mega Merger: Full Steam Ahead For Appeal

New Zealand's two largest news publishers have confirmed they are committed to pursuing their appeal against the Commerce Commission's rejection of the proposal to merge their operations. More>>

Crown Accounts: $4.1 Billion Surplus

The New Zealand Government has achieved its third fiscal surplus in a row with the Crown accounts for the year ended 30 June 2017 showing an OBEGAL surplus of $4.1 billion, $2.2 billion stronger than last year, Finance Minister Steven Joyce says. More>>

ALSO:

Mycoplasma Bovis: One New Property Tests Positive

The newly identified property... was already under a Restricted Place notice under the Biosecurity Act. More>>

Accounting Scandal: Suspension Of Fuji Xerox From All-Of-Government Contract

General Manager of New Zealand Government Procurement John Ivil says, “FXNZ has been formally suspended from the Print Technology and Associated Services (PTAS) contract and terminated from the Office Supplies contract.” More>>