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Rocket attack behind ammo depot blast

A guard walks past the perimeter of the now destroyed munitions dump
A guard walks past the perimeter of the now destroyed munitions dump  

SPIN BOLDAK, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Officials in Afghanistan say a rocket attack triggered a deadly munitions explosion early Friday in the southern Afghan town of Spin Boldak that killed at least 19 people and injured dozens more.

The massive and extended explosions sent shock waves through Spin boldak and was felt as far as Chaman in Pakistan.

Victims include women, children and Afghan soldiers. Officials say they are still trying to determine who fired the rocket and why.

A World Food Programme official, Sikendar Khan, said two witnesses he talked with said a shell fired from Pakistan hit the depot, setting off the explosions.

Map: Spin Boldak 

He said the witnesses, who were sleeping outside near the depot, saw the shell and heard a helicopter overhead.

The site was across the road from a United Nations food compound, and the explosions lasted for nearly four hours, destroying the depot and a nearby mosque, Khan said.

Kahn said no government officials were on the scene and it was impossible to say how many had been killed.

He said attempts were being made to dig bodies from the rubble but that efforts were hampered by unexploded ordnance, blown from the depot, that littered the area.

One WFP staff member was injured but is in "OK" condition, said WFP spokesman Khaled Mansour in Islamabad. The force of the blast blew off a gate to the WFP's compound, he added.

Many of the seriously injured were taken to medical facilities in Chaman. Witnesses said six people were hospitalized with serious injuries and about 16 others had been treated and released.

The cache belonged to Kandahar's Governor Gul Agha Sherzai and included rockets and heavy mortars.

Officials in the governor's office said they did not know what set off the explosions or how many died.

The blasts shattered windows two miles away in Chaman, on the Pakistani border, Pakistani officials said.

Spin Boldak is 186 miles south of the city of Kandahar.

-- CNN Correspondents Tom Mintier and Alphonso Van Marsh contributed to this report




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