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Exploding Gas Tanker Ignites Huge Hearth on Afghanistan-Iran Border

KABUL, Afghanistan — A gasoline tanker exploded Saturday afternoon at a crowded border submit 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 stated that they had not decided what prompted the primary tanker to blow up on the Islam-Qala customs submit on the border with Iran shortly after midday. They expressed alarm Saturday night that the hearth was quickly spreading on the congested customs complicated and will engulf a whole bunch extra tankers lined up on the border.

Officers in Herat stated they may not verify Afghan and Iranian media stories that as much as 500 tankers had already burned and that the blaze had unfold to the Iranian customs submit on the opposite aspect of the border.

A minimum of 17 individuals had been injured, with the variety of casualties anticipated to rise, stated Mohammad Rafiq Sherzay, the provincial public well being spokesman.

Ahmad Tariq Saleh stated his firm, Hnif Merwan, had misplaced 21 tankers to the hearth.

The tankers import gasoline and pure fuel from Iran. America 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 associate, and the crossing is essential to the financial system of Herat Province and western Afghanistan. An extended-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 the town of Herat, whereas the American-back authorities controls Herat and different inhabitants facilities. The militants typically arrange checkpoints on roadways, imposing taxes on items and autos.

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

“All of our forces and our firefighting division are attempting to manage the hearth,” Mr. Farhad stated.

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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