British companies with operations in the Middle East and Asia are monitoring events after the terrorist attacks on the USA, but there are no large-scale evacuations planned.
Consultant WS Atkins has pulled a British worker out of a highway project in Pakistan. Iraq used its employees as a human shield during the Gulf War, and the firm said it was anxious to avoid a similar situation. "Our main concern is knowing where our staff are at all times," said overseas director David Howells.

Mott MacDonald also has operations in Pakistan, but no British workers are involved. It is working on six residential towers in Dubai Marina.

Richard Moult, the firm's Middle East regional director, said: "We would obviously like to continue working in the area." However, he added: "Everyone's feeling nervous about this, and the Americans are understandably jittery."

Ian Mensa, Middle East project manager for Mouchel Consultancy, was also worried, as a number of workers were imprisoned during the Gulf conflict. He said: "We have instructed all our staff to be sensible in their behaviour."

Mensa added that, recently, large contracts had started to come through again in the region as confidence returned after the stabilisation of oil prices. "But now there is a big question mark hanging over some proposed projects," he said.