An Afghan security personnel stands at the site of a blast in Kabul on December 17, 2012. Afghanistan's Taliban movement claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in Kabul which targeted a US contracting company and killed two Afghan civilians, underscoring security challenges ahead of a NATO pullout.

KABUL: A car bomb exploded outside a compound housing a US military contractor in the Afghan capital yesterday, blowing apart an exterior wall and wounding dozens inside, including South Africans.

In another part of the country, a suspected landmine claimed the lives of 10 young girls, police said.

The blast on the outskirts of Kabul sent a plume of smoke up into the air and shook windows more than a 2km away in the city centre.

The security officer for Contrack, a US company that builds facilities for military bases, said a suicide attacker drove a vehicle packed with explosives up to the exterior wall of the compound and detonated the bomb.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid claimed responsibility for the attack in Kabul, saying in an e-mail to reporters that a suicide car bomber targeted the compound because the company was working with the government.

Contrack did not respond to calls or e-mails asking for comment.

Contrack security officer Baryalai – who, like many Afghans, goes by only one name – said the injured employees included Americans, Afghans and South Africans.

Meanwhile, Department of International Relations spokesman Clayson Monyela said it was difficult to establish whether any South Africans had been injured in the blast because South Africa did not have an embassy in Afganistan. It would be working through the South African High Commission in Pakistan to get information. – Sapa-AP; additional reporting by Angelique Serrao