Britons held in Afghan terror raid

UK forces have arrested two Britons in Afghanistan amid fears they may have been planning an attack on British troops in the country.









The pair were held at a hotel in the western city of Herat in a dramatic joint raid with Afghan intelligence service the National Directorate of Security (NDS), The Times reported.



The suspects, who are British passport-holders with dual nationality, are now being held by UK forces in Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan, according to the paper.



An unnamed senior Afghan official told The Times: "It was terrorism-related. It was a UK-led operation."



The Ministry of Defence and Foreign Office confirmed the arrests but would not give any further details about the operation.



An MoD spokesman said: "We can confirm that British forces have detained two individuals in Afghanistan who claim to be British nationals. We are not prepared to comment further at this stage."



A Foreign Office spokeswoman added: "We can confirm that two British nationals have been detained in Afghanistan. Embassy staff are providing assistance."



Nato forces in Afghanistan normally hold suspects for a maximum of four days before releasing them or handing them over to the Afghan authorities, but this can be extended in certain cases.



The Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "The UK has a national policy of detaining beyond 96 hours in exceptional circumstances, in particular where it could provide information that could help protect our forces or the local population."



News of the arrests came as the UK handed responsibility for security in Helmand's capital, Lashkar Gah, to Afghan forces yesterday in a symbolic step towards the planned pull-out of British combat troops by the end of 2014.







It is understood there is no link between the arrests and any potential terror plot in the UK.









Legal charity Reprieve, which campaigns for prisoners' rights, has written to the Foreign Office warning that the suspects could face torture or the death penalty if they are transferred to Afghan custody.



Director Clive Stafford-Smith asked British officials to confirm that the men had been permitted access to lawyers and to offer them his group's assistance.



Reprieve said it had not received a response from the Foreign Office so far.











A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "We can confirm that two British passport holders were detained in an Isaf operation conducted jointly last week by UK forces with Afghans in support. The individuals, a male and a female, are currently being held in a secure facility in Kandahar for questioning.



"Detention operations are a vital element of protecting UK, Isaf and Afghan forces and Afghan civilians from those who are assessed to pose a threat regardless of their nationality.



"All detention operations in Afghanistan carried out under the remit of the UN-mandated International Security Assistance Force (Isaf), which includes those conducted by British forces, are conducted in accordance with international law and strict policy frameworks."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...

Recruitment Genius: Factory Operatives

£7 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This high quality thread manufacturer ba...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003