Kabul, Afghanistan
Afghanistan's capital, Kabul Creative Common

Gunmen who attacked the British Council office in Kabul, Afghanistan killed at least nine people and occupied the compound, were themselves all later killed after hours of gunfire.

The assailants reportedly used a car bomb to demolish the compound wall and then forced their way in.

According to intelligence officials, the suicide gunmen carried enough weaponry -- including rocket-propelled grenades, heavy machine guns and grenades -- to carry on a battle for an entire day.

The deceased staff members of the compound included at least eight Afghan policemen and a New Zealand special services soldier.

Agence France Presse reported that British ambassador William Patey said some Nepalese ex-Gurkha soldiers who were guarding the compound were also hurt in the attack.

The British Foreign Minister indicated all UK citizens had been safely removed from the compound.

The Taliban took responsibility for the attack and claimed it was to celebrate the anniversary of Afghanistan's independence from Britain in 1919.

Due to that auspicious date, intelligence officials had expected an attack on Western, primarily British, targets.

British Prime Minister David Cameron condemned the cowardly attack, adding that he thanked New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key for the role their special forces played in securing the compound.

My thoughts are with those killed and injured and their families and friends, including locals working to protect the British Council building,” said British Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt in a statement.

It is due to the presence of mind of the staff involved and our good security measures that no British nationals were hurt. 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.

The British Council agency primarily runs cultural programs and is partly funded by the UK government.