KABUL – A massive blast triggered Thursday in an overturned timber truck in central Afghanistan killed 25 people, destroyed shops and propelled pieces of the vehicle more than a mile away, officials said.
The explosion killed 21 civilians and four policemen in Logar province, south of Kabul, and also demolished nearby dairy shops, ministry spokesman Zemerai Bashary said.
Authorities suspect the truck may have been heading into Kabul with the explosives, but that it overturned on the main road between Logar province and the capital late Wednesday, provincial police chief Mustafa Khan said.
After police arrived to clear the road, militants apparently decided to blow up the truck where it overturned, Khan said, adding that authorities believe the explosives were mingled with timber in the back of the truck and that they were remotely detonated.
The power of the blast sent truck pieces more than a mile away, another police official said.
The blast took place in Mohammad Agha district, close to shops that collect milk from farmers. At least six of those killed were students from a nearby primary boys school, the second police official in Logar said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
The blast happened as thousands of U.S. Marines in southern Afghanistan are involved in the biggest American military offensive in country since the ouster of the Taliban from power in 2001.