Suicide bomber, insurgents attack Afghan company

By the Associated Press | November 3, 2011 | 3:45 AM EDT

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A suicide car bomb exploded near the entrance of a private construction company in western Afghanistan early Thursday while other insurgents stormed the compound, sparking a gunbattle with Afghan forces who rushed to the scene, officials said.

The attack, which took place in the province of Herat, comes just days after the Taliban launched a brazen, two-pronged assault on a compound housing United Nations and international aid groups offices in southern Afghanistan. Five people were killed in that attack, including three working with the U.N.'s refugee organization.

Thursday's attack began with a suicide car bombing near the entrance of the company that sits along the main road to the airport in the provincial capital's Guzra district, said Noorkhan Nekzad, the spokesman for Herat province's police chief.

Initial reports indicate that one guard was injured in the blast, said Muhiudin Noori, spokesman for the province's governor.

Afghan security forces responded to the attack that began about 10 a.m. and a gun battle was ongoing hours later, the two officials said.

The road is a route often used by NATO and Afghan forces.