Report: Financial fallout from Kabul blast reaches $10 million
A view of the Contract International compound shortly after a Taliban suicide bomber detonated a truck bomb nearby. Photo courtesy of Tolo News.
Following the deadly Dec. 17 Taliban suicide attack against a compound run by the US contracting company Contrack International, officials from the Afghan Industries Association reported that local Afghan industrialists stand to lose $10 million in damages from the attack.
The Taliban attacked the Contrack International compound in the Pul-i-Charkhi area of Kabul two days ago. The massive truck bomb used in the attack seriously damaged the compound and neighboring facilities in Kabul's industrial park. One person was killed and at least 15 others injured. [See LWJ report, Taliban suicide bomber attacks US contracting company in Kabul.]
According to TOLONews:
Afghan Industries Association officials said they had previously discussed their concerns about security at the industrial park, but the government had not done enough to safeguard the companies.
"We urge the government officials to pay serious attention towards the industrial park in Kabul. The Association has decided to shut all the companies if the problems are not considered seriously," threatened Association head Abdul Jabar Safi.
The Afghan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) went one step ahead and demanded the expulsion of foreign troops and contractors, frequently targeted by insurgents, from around the industrial park.
"Our own [Afghan] industrialist has suffered a $10 million loss, while the president asks others to invest in Afghanistan. How can we stand on our own feet if the government is not supporting investors?" Deputy Chief Executive Officer of ACCI Khan Jan Alokozay said.
The economic damage resulting from catastrophic terrorist incidents in Afghanistan such as this one are rarely brought to light. However, Afghan insurgents have increasingly opted for high-profile terrorist attacks with extreme economic consequences.
In late October, suspected Taliban fighters destroyed a series of warehouses in Parwan province belonging to Supreme Group, a major procurement contractor that supplies Coalition forces with food, fuel, and other commodities. The Taliban claimed the attack, saying that their fighters had fired rocket-propelled grenades and mortars at the warehouses and caused significant damage.
In September, Taliban insurgents launched a complex assault against the largest Coalition airbase in Helmand province, destroying six AV-8B Harrier strike aircraft and seriously damaging two others. An enormous jet fuel depot was also destroyed in the attack. The AV-8B Harrier jets cost approximately $8 million each.
In June, Haqqani Network insurgents attempted to storm FOB Salerno in Khost province, presumably to attack and destroy aircraft, but were cut down by US forces as they breached the perimeter in broad daylight. The massive truck bomb used to breach the perimeter caused major damage to the base, and destroyed at least two camp facilities, including the dining facility (DFAC) and post exchange (PX).