Six killed in Afghan blasts

At least six people have been killed in two blasts at a house owned by an explosives trader next to an American air base in Afghanistan.

    The ruined town of Bagram is the headquarters of occupation forces in Afghanistan

    No coalition troops were reported hurt in the explosion on Friday, which was not believed to be an attack on the base.

    An AFP correspondent saw five bodies, including those of a woman and a child, and two wounded people carried from the blazing home in

    the village next to the gate of Bagram Air Base, 50km

     north of Kabul.

    A 14-year-old boy in an alley near the house was killed by

    shrapnel when a rocket exploded after the main blast.

    Explosion

    Villagers said

    another six to 10 people were injured in the second explosion.

    A trader was storing mortars and rockets inside the house which

    exploded around 08:30 GMT, according to residents.

    It was

    unclear how he was able to keep so many munitions close to the

    tightly-guarded military base.

    Afghanistan is awash with weapons after two decades of war.

    Explosives and munitions stores are often set off by power short

    circuits and other accidents.

    Death toll

    "People initially told us that 15 people were living in the

    house but they now say there were six people living there," US Major

    David Long said at the scene.

    Afghanistan is awash with arms
    after two decades of civil war

    Villagers also said six people - the owner, his wife and four

    children - lived in the house, and that a seventh had been staying

    there as a guest.

    Long said it would take some time to determine the exact toll.

    "There are still bodies lying on the ground and people inside

    but we can't go to rescue them," said Abdul Rahman, a villager who

    lives near the destroyed house.

    Five fire trucks were dispatched from Bagram Air Base to

    extinguish the blaze.

    US soldiers

    Dozens of US soldiers, several ambulances and

    two military vehicles were at the scene as troops kept people away

    from the house.

    Villagers said more explosives were stored in the house, which

    US troops were trying to remove.

    "The owner of the house was buying rockets and bombs and then he

    removed the explosives and sold them to people mining for precious

    stones in Badakhshan province and the Panjshir valley," villager Jan

    Mohammad said.

    Mohammad said the owner had lost his left leg and left eye two

    years ago in an explosion but he had continued his trade.

    "It's a good business - he was making a lot of money."

    SOURCE: AFP


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