A U.S. soldier who suffered serious brain injuries and shrapnel wounds to his chest in a suicide bombing two years ago in Afghanistan is now suing the American defense contractor that employed the bomber.
Army Spc. Winston Hencely, 22 of Springfield, Georgia, was deployed to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan as a soldier in the Army’s 1st Cavalry Division when a man acting suspiciously detonated an explosive vest beneath his clothes on Nov. 12, 2016.
The suicide bomber was identified as Ahmad Nayeb, an Afghan national who had just finished his work shift with Fluor Corporation. The explosion killed Nayeb, three U.S. soldiers and two fellow Fluor employees. Another 16 people, including Hencely, were wounded.
In a new federal lawsuit filed Wednesday, Hencely accused the company of failing to supervise Nayeb as he built an explosive vest on the job using the company’s tools and parts.
“Fluor's negligent supervision of the bomber enabled the bomber's attack against the Army,” said the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Greenville, South Carolina, one of Fluor's U.S. locations. It added that “Fluor well knew that in Afghanistan, and on American military bases, in particular, suicide bombers were a constant and dire threat.”
Nayeb smuggled explosive materials used in his suicide vest onto the U.S. base, the lawsuit said, and completed it during his work shifts using string and an electrical switch from the Fluor work site as well as nuts and bolts he used for shrapnel.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages against the company. A company spokesman said Wednesday Fluor had no immediate comment.
A 2017 Army investigation found “a lack of reasonable supervision facilitated Nayeb’s ability to freely acquire most of the components necessary for the construction of the suicide vest and the freedom of movement to complete its construction.”
Hencely said in the lawsuit that he has permanent short-term memory loss, has suffered seizures and remains unable to fully use his hand, arm and leg on his left side. He remains in the Army but is recovering at home in Georgia.