Car bomb at US compound in Afghan capital kills 2



Kabul: A car bomb exploded outside of a compound housing a US military contractor in the Afghan capital Monday, blowing apart an exterior wall, killing at least two Afghan workers and wounding more than a dozen other people, company representatives and police said.

In another part of the country, a suspected landmine killed 10 young girls, police said.

The blast on the outskirts of Kabul sent a plume of smoke up in the air and shook windows more than a mile (two kilometres) away in the city centre.

The security officer for Contrack, a McLean, Virginia-based company that builds facilities for military bases, said a suicide attacker drove a vehicle packed with explosives up to the exterior wall of the compound and detonated the bomb. Afghan police said they could not confirm if it was a suicide attack or a remotely detonated bomb that had been placed in a parked vehicle.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack in Kabul, saying in an email to reporters that it was a suicide car bomber who targeted the compound because it was company working with the government.

Two Afghan employees of the company were killed in the attack and at least 15 others were wounded, said deputy Interior Ministry spokesman Najibullah Danish. He did not have information on any of the foreign employees. Contrack did not respond to calls or emails asking for comment.

Contrack security officer Baryalai, who like many Afghans only goes by one name, said at the site that injured employees included Americans, Afghans and South Africans. An American official of the company was seriously wounded, he said.

An Associated Press reporter at the site saw large sections of exterior wall blown apart and a collapsed roof on a building inside. Twisted metal from shipping containers that had been ripped open by the explosion littered the ground. A light snow was falling all morning and was already starting to cover the debris as reporters and investigators surveyed the site. It appeared that the wall at the site of the explosion was made of mud brick surprising in a city where most foreign contractors live in compounds reinforced by concrete blast walls.

Baryalai said the arm of the company that was attacked today is building barracks and other facilities for the Afghan army. Contrack's projects in Afghanistan also include fuel storage, air field construction and tanker facilities for US military bases, according to its website.

A worker coming out of the building said that he saw at least 30 people wounded.

"There was massive destruction inside ... I was sitting behind my computer when it happened. I was not hurt but I saw many of my colleagues were injured," Bashir Farhang said.

PTI