Saturday 13 February 2021
Hundreds of tankers burst
Flames in an Afghan border town
In a chain reaction, about 400 gas tankers go up in flames along the border with Afghanistan and Iran. The extent of the devastation is yet to be estimated, and the cause of the explosions can only be surprising. Police believe there was a leak.
In a border town in western Afghanistan, hundreds of gas tankers succumbed to the flames. Around noon, a tanker truck exploded near the border with Iran for an unexplained cause and triggered a border reaction, as one border guard said. The official Mehraulah Balotsak in Islam Qala town said that about 400 tankers were destroyed in the flames. “We have not received any air support from either side, but twelve fire engines and crew are helping us from Iran.” The full extent of the destruction was unclear. The number of potential victims was also unknown initially as rescuers remained at a safe distance from the fire.
A huge cloud of explosions, flame and black smoke appeared in TV pictures and videos on the Internet. According to officials, the customs office in Islam Kala is also ablaze. Seventeen people were taken to a hospital in the provincial capital Herat in critical condition. The cause of the accident was initially unknown, but police feared a leak in a tanker truck. The fire continued to grow even after dark. Herat Governor Wahid Qatali, who received an on-site picture of the situation, believed the fire was going to last long: “We are trying our best to put out the fire,” he said. “We were worried about the looting, but we stopped it. And we managed to move a few hundred cars.” The estimated loss is several million dollars and fire extinguishing work will have to wait for final assessment, said Junus Kasi Sad, head of the Herat Chamber of Commerce
Qatali spoke of heavy losses to both the private sector and public infrastructure. A trade route between Afghanistan and Iran runs in the border town of Islam Qala. For security reasons, the electrical connection to Iran was cut off and the provincial capital Herat was left in the dark as a result, as announced by Afghan officials.
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