August 11, 2005

Afghan arms store explodes at U.S. base; three hurt

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (Reuters) - A munitions store
belonging to the Afghan National Army inside a key airbase used
by U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan exploded on Thursday,
wounding at least three local soldiers, witnesses said.

The cause of the blast was not immediately known, they
said, adding that they heard several loud explosions followed
by smoke and fire rising from the base, located at Kandahar
airbase in southern Afghanistan.

"There were various types of ammunitions in the dump," one
source at the airport said. "They consisted of mortars,
artillery rounds and small arms."

Kandahar governor Assadullah Khalid confirmed the blast,
but said he believed it was started by a cooking gas cylinder.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. military in Kabul also confirmed
the blast, but said that initial reports indicated it was an

The base is on the western outskirts of Kandahar and is
used by U.S.-led troops hunting Taliban and other militants in
Afghanistan. It occasionally comes under attack from Taliban
small arms and rocket fire.