A car bomb outside a compound housing a U.S. military contractor in the Afghan capital kills at least two Afghan workers and wounds more than a dozen others.
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN — A car bomb outside a compound housing a U.S. military contractor in the Afghan capital killed at least two Afghan workers and wounded more than a dozen other people, company representatives and police said. Hours earlier, in the east part of the country, a Soviet-era land-mine killed nine young girls as they were gathering firewood.
The U.N. Mine Action Service said the girls appeared to have walked into an old minefield from the 1990s, when Afghan resistance fighters were battling occupying Soviet troops.
“It was a British-made anti-tank mine,” said Abigail Hartley, the manager of the U.N. mine program. She said there were not enough pieces of the exploded mine to determine its exact make but that two MK 7 British mines were found nearby, so it was assumed to have been a similar mine that exploded.
The girls ranged in age from 9 to 13 years old and were from different families in Dawlatzai village, said Mohammad Seddiq, the government administrator of Nangarhar province’s Chaperhar district.
Two more girls were seriously wounded and were in critical condition at a hospital, he said.
The car bomb blast on Jalalabad Road, a main artery flanked with military bases and foreign companies leading into Kabul, sent a plume of smoke and shook windows more than a mile away in the city center.
The security officer for Contrack, a McLean, Va.-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 could not immediately confirm whether it was a suicide attack or a remotely detonated bomb.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack, saying in an email to reporters that it was a suicide car bomber who targeted the compound because it was a company working with the government.
Afghanistan remains one of the most heavily land-mined countries in the world, despite years of clearing operations. Many mines have been left in rural areas from the 1990s and are only discovered when they are triggered accidentally.
An Afghan security member stands in the debris from a car bomb explosion Monday outside a compound housing a U.S. military contractor.