At least 17 people were injured, while the number of fatalities was not known after a fuel truck exploded at the Afghanistan-Iranian border Saturday afternoon. More than 100 tankers burst into flames due to the impact of the explosion that occurred in Herat. The officials could not determine the cause of the tanker explosion at the Islam-Qala customs post on the border with Iran. However, they raised an alarm informing that the fire was rapidly spreading at the congested customs complex and could engulf hundreds of more tankers lined up at the border.
Meanwhile, media reports stated nearly 500 tankers had burnt and that the blaze had spread to the Iranian customs post on the other side of the border. Such reports, however, were not confirmed by the officials in Herat.
Soon after the incident, the electricity supply from neighboring Iran was disconnected as a precaution, leaving the city of Herat without power as night fell, said Jailani Farhad, a spokesman for Herat's governor.
"All of our forces and our firefighting department are trying to control the fire," Farhad said.
Meanwhile, several videos of the fuel tanker explosion at the Afghanistan-Iranian border were being circulated on social media
The tankers import fuel and natural gas from Iran. The United States has granted Afghanistan an exemption to sanctions imposed on Iran to import fuel, though US-backed Afghan security forces are prohibited from using it, The New York Times reported.
Iran is Afghanistan's largest trade partner and the crossing is crucial to the economy of Herat Province and western Afghanistan.
Long-term disruption of the crossing could bring hardships to the region.
The province's capital, the city of Herat, is about 75 miles east of the border crossing, located on a major commercial transit route between Afghanistan and Iran, The New York Times reported.