In a chain reaction, hundreds of fuel trucks transporting petrol have been destroyed in a huge fire in a town on the border between Afghanistan and Iran.
Seventeen people – one of them in critical condition – were taken to a regional hospital near the border town of Islam Qala in Afghanistan’s western Herat province, police and health officials said on Saturday.
But the total number of casualties was unclear as emergency services had to stay a safe distance away from the inferno.
A border official said one petrol tanker exploded for unknown reasons and set off a chain reaction. The official, Mehrullah Baloch, said the fire had destroyed about 400 lorries.
Images from the scene showed explosions, flames and a large cloud of black smoke.
Iran had sent 12 fire engines to help battle the blaze, Baloch said, but there had been no assistance from the air.
Afghan firefighters had sought air support from Afghan and NATO forces in the country, provincial Governor Wahid Qatali said.
Qatali said the fire was a huge financial loss to the private sector and public infrastructure. The customs office in Islam Qala had apparently burnt down.
It was not immediately clear what caused the fire, but police suspect that it may have been the result of a leak from a petrol tank.