Truck bomb explodes in Afghanistan, killing 20

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack.

Last Updated: Mar 28, 2011, 12:49 PM IST

Kabul: The Afghan Interior Ministry says the death toll from a suicide attack against a construction company in eastern Afghanistan has increased to 20 killed and about 50 wounded.

A statement issued by the ministry said three insurgents carried out the attack late Sunday using a truck carrying a large amount of explosives.

The ministry said Monday that the attackers shot their way into the compound before detonating the bomb.

Earlier in the day a truck loaded with explosives detonated inside the compound of a road construction company in eastern Afghanistan, killing 13 people and wounding about 50, an Afghan official said Monday.

The truck detonated late Sunday in the Barmal district of Paktika province, said provincial spokesman Mokhlis Afghan. The area is located on the border with Pakistan`s lawless tribal regions, which serve as safe havens for insurgents that infiltrate into Afghanistan across the rugged and mountainous frontier.

The region has seen an escalation in violence over the past few months.

Afghan said that the exact causes of the blast were being investigated, but described it as an attack. All the dead and wounded were laborers and there were no Afghan or foreign forces at the site, he said.

The US-led coalition had no immediate comment.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was the work of a suicide bomber. He said in an emailed statement that it was targeting a joint Afghan-NATO operating base.

Afghan, the spokesman, said the explosion was so powerful that little remained of the truck.

"We are investigating what caused the explosion, but in this attack all the casualties are innocent civilian people. They are all poor people who were working as laborers in a construction company. No Afghan security or international forces were involved. The Afghan army and NATO helped carry the injured to hospitals," he said.

Bureau Report