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Several hundred fuel tanker trucks exploded at the Iranian-Afghan border this Saturday, injuring dozens of people and killing seven, The National reports, adding that the cause of the fire was as of yet unknown.
The fire that started the explosions broke out at the town of Islam Qala, some 120 km from the city of Herat in Afghanistan, where the tankers were parked after crossing the border from Iran.
“According to our estimate, around 500 vehicles were in the parking lot of the border and were damaged,” Yunus Qazizada, head of the Chamber of Commerce and Investment in Herat said, as quoted by The National. “Our initial figures show that around $40-50 million worth of equipment and goods are affected.”
The fire prompted Afghanistan to suspend its electricity imports from Iran, which left the city of Herat without power.
According to a report by Iran’s ISNA news agency, tanker drivers had said that more than 500 trucks carrying fuel and natural gas had burned, which also added that two of the explosions were so massive they could be seen from space.
Firefighters were still trying to put out the fire on Sunday, with local Afghan authorities concerned that forecasts of windy weather would fan the flames and make firefighters’ jobs harder, threatening other oil tankers parked in the vicinity.
A report by France 24 noted that many vehicles had fled the site of the explosion to Iran, which kept the border open, according to the country’s foreign ministry.
The AP notes that the road between the border town of Islam Qala and Herat is a dangerous area fraught with criminal gangs, including Talibans. It is also a key transport artery between Iran and its eastern neighbor, which is allowed to import oil, gas, and fuel from Iran despite U.S. sanctions.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.