Exploding Gasoline Tanker Ignites Monumental Hearth on Afghanistan-Iran Border

KABUL, Afghanistan — A gasoline tanker exploded Saturday afternoon at a crowded border put up in western Afghanistan, setting off an infinite hearth that unfold to greater than 100 different tankers as intense flames slowed the response of firefighters and rescue autos, Afghan officers reported.

The officers mentioned that they had not decided what precipitated the primary tanker to blow up on the Islam-Qala customs put up on the border with Iran shortly after midday. They expressed alarm Saturday night that the fireplace was quickly spreading on the congested customs complicated and will engulf a whole lot extra tankers lined up on the border.

Officers in Herat mentioned they might not affirm Afghan and Iranian media stories that as much as 500 tankers had already burned and that the blaze had unfold to the Iranian customs put up on the opposite facet of the border.

Not less than 17 individuals had been injured, with the variety of casualties anticipated to rise, mentioned Mohammad Rafiq Sherzay, the provincial public well being spokesman.

Ahmad Tariq Saleh mentioned his firm, Hnif Merwan, had misplaced 21 tankers to the fireplace.

The tankers import gasoline and pure fuel from Iran. The USA has granted Afghanistan an exemption to sanctions imposed on Iran to import gasoline, although U.S.-backed Afghan safety forces are prohibited from utilizing it.

Iran is Afghanistan’s largest commerce accomplice, and the crossing is essential to the economic system of Herat Province and western Afghanistan. A protracted-term disruption of the crossing may convey hardships to the area.

The Taliban operates so-called shadow governments in a lot of the countryside exterior town of Herat, whereas the American-back authorities controls Herat and different inhabitants facilities. The militants usually arrange checkpoints on roadways, imposing taxes on items and autos.

Due to the fireplace, the electrical energy provide from neighboring Iran was disconnected as a precaution, leaving town of Herat with out energy as evening fell, mentioned Jailani Farhad, a spokesman for Herat’s governor. The province’s capital, town of Herat, is about 75 miles east of the border crossing, positioned on a serious industrial transit route between Afghanistan and Iran.

“All of our forces and our firefighting division try to regulate the fireplace,” Mr. Farhad mentioned.

Iran was sending firefighters to help Herat’s hearth division, the nation’s state-run IRNA information company reported late Saturday, quoting the director-general of disaster administration in Khorasan Razavi Province in northeastern Iran.

David Zucchino reported from Kabul and Asad Timory from Herat.

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