Explosion rocks U.S. contractor's compound in Kabul

AP

Updated 6:35 a.m.EST

KABUL, Afghanistan A car bomb exploded outside a compound housing a U.S. military contractor in the Afghan capital Monday, blowing apart an exterior wall, killing two and wounding at least 15 people, company representatives and police and government representatives 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 into the air and shook windows more than a mile away in the city center.

The Taliban claimed responsibility.

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 said they could not confirm if it was a suicide attack or a remotely detonated bomb that had been placed in a parked vehicle.

Contrack did not respond to calls or emails asking for comment.

Deputy Interior Ministry spokesman Najibullah Danish said at least two people, both Afghan employees of Contrack, were killed in the attack.

Interior Ministry spokesman Sidiq Sidiqi told CBS News at least 15 people were injured, including two foreigners. The nationalities of the casualties were not immediately available, he said.

Contrack security officer Baryalai who, like many Afghans only goes by one name, said he could only confirm wounded. He said the injured employees included Americans, Afghans and South Africans. An American official of the company was seriously wounded, he said. The injured may also have included Filipinos.

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 Monday 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 U.S. 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.

Jalalabad road, where the explosion occurred, is one of the main arteries into the city. It is flanked by a number of foreign companies and organization, along with foreign military bases.

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