Suicide Bomb in Eastern Afghanistan Kills 13


A suicide bomb attack on a road construction company in eastern Afghanistan killed 13 people and wounded 50 more, a spokesman for the provincial governor said Monday.

The official had initially said 15 people were killed, but later corrected the figure.

"The attacker smashed a car laden with explosives into the construction company building," Mokhles Afghan told Agence France Presse of the attack, which took place late Sunday. "Thirteen people were killed and 50 were wounded."

Afghan said that engineers, construction workers and security guards were among those killed in the blast in the restive eastern province of Paktika, which shares a long, porous border with Pakistani areas troubled by Taliban militancy.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. The al-Qaida-linked Haqqani network, which is based in North Waziristan in Pakistan, is particularly active in Paktika.

The group is loyal to the Taliban and has been blamed for some of the deadliest anti-U.S. attacks in Afghanistan, including a suicide attack on an Afghan flea market that killed two NATO and two Afghan soldiers in December.

Islamist insurgents in Afghanistan have been known to target construction workers as well as military forces and government officials.

Civilians are increasingly getting caught up in the violence that has blighted Afghanistan since a U.S.-led invasion in 2001 ousted the Taliban, triggering an insurgency whose intensity has increased in recent years.

The United Nations says that last year was the deadliest for civilians since the conflict began, with 2,777 killed -- a 15 percent increase on 2009.

Three-quarters of the deaths were caused by attacks linked to the insurgents, with improvised explosive devices (IEDs) the biggest killers, taking the lives of 1,141 people.