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Texas company hired contractor involved in Afghanistan suicide bombing

HOUSTON – A Texas-based company hired a local contractor who carried out a suicide bombing on a base in Afghanistan that killed five American soldiers and civilians. Sixteen others were wounded.

On Nov. 12, 2016, preparations were underway at Bagram Airfield for a Veterans Day 5K race when the suicide bomber blew himself up. The bomber, a local Afghan, was hired by Fluor, a government contractor based near Dallas. The U.S. government investigated the bombing and found complacency and lack of supervision by Fluor allowed the bomber to construct and deploy a suicide vest inside the base perimeter.

Army Spc. Maggie Bilyeu suffered serious injuries in the blast.

"I was split through and I split my diaphragm in half," Bilyeu said. "I had a lot of shrapnel to my stomach area which resulted in the loss of my large intestines, loss of my small intestines, loss of my colon, loss of my spleen completely.”

Army Maj. Marvin Branch also survived the bombing.

“It was supposed to be a normal day, but it wasn’t,” Branch said. “I almost lost my family.”

The soldiers still have questions about what happened.

“How did this guy sit there and work for you and make a bomb, using your tools, your equipment, on your clock, getting paid by you?” asked Branch.

The victims and their loved ones are seeking answers in a federal lawsuit against Fluor. The federal government did not terminate its contract with Fluor, stating in a 2018 letter that it was “not currently in the government’s best interest” to do so.

Fluor did give KPRC 2 Investigates this statement:

“Our thoughts and prayers continue for the deceased employees’ families and friends and to those who were injured in the attack. Due to the pending litigation, we are unfortunately not able to provide additional information at this time.”