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Blast hits US compound in Afghan capital

KABUL: A car bomb exploded outside of a compound housing a US military contractor in the Afghan capital Monday, blowing apart an exterior wall and wounding dozens inside, company representatives and police said.
The blast on the outskirts of the city sent a plume of smoke up in the air and shook windows more than a mile (two kilometers) away in the city center.
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.
Contrack did not respond to calls or e-mails asking for comment.
Deputy Interior Ministry spokesman Najibullah Danish said that at least one person was killed in the attack. It was not immediately clear if this may have been the attacker.
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. The American director of the company was seriously wounded, he said. Contrack has a range of contracts in Afghanistan but Baryalai said the arm of the company that was attacked Monday is building barracks and other facilities for the Afghan army.
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 home to a number of foreign companies that have offices inside of blast-walled compounds.
Contrack’s projects also include fuel storage, air field construction and tanker facilities for US military bases in Afghanistan, according to its website.