KABUL — Five security guards and two civilians died in a massive blast and a firefight outside a foreign-owned compound on Kabul’s eastern outskirts early Tuesday, police said.
A suicide bomber in a truck set off the explosion at about 4:30 a.m., Kabul provincial police chief Mohammad Ayuob Salangi said.
Four other suicide bombers armed with explosive vests and guns then attacked the facility’s gate on foot. They were killed by the security forces, he said.
The dead guards included Nepalese men and an Afghan. The two civilian fatalities were Afghan truck drivers waiting to enter the compound. Five other people were injured, Salangi said.
The blast left a crate 20 feet deep, mangled more than a dozen other trucks, and blew a 30-foot-wide hole in the compound’s wall, through which the gunmen tried to attack. The attack lasted less than an hour after police responded, according to a statement from the Interior Ministry.
The area along the Kabul-Nangarhar Highway just east of Kabul International Airport, where the attack occurred, houses many facilities used by foreign logistics firms to stage trucks and materiel in support of NATO operations.
The target of the attack, confirmed by police and a company employee, was the North Gate secure living facility, operated by the logistics firm C3PO.
The compound features apartments, a dining hall and recreational facilities that can be rented by companies or government agencies, according to the C3PO website. The company also provides construction services.
Mohammed Azim, an employee at a nearby company, said he heard the powerful explosion as he prepared for morning prayer. When the bomb went off, it knocked dishes off his table and filled the room with dust.
An online statement released by NATO headquarters during the attack emphasized the Afghan response to the attack: “ANSF is in the lead and on scene,” referring to the Afghan National Security Forces.
Nearly 300 Afghan police were killed by militants in June, according to numbers released by Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry on Monday. One-hundred and eighty civilians also died in fighting.