Afghanistan:

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Heidi Vogt and Rahim Faiez MuSADEq SADEq / AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

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.

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