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Roaring tanker fire kills 7, injures 14 in Afghan capital

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – A burning fire that swept through dozens of tankers on the northern edge of Afghanistan’s capital Kabul has killed seven people and injured 14 others, the Interior Ministry said on Sunday.

Investigators were combing through tanker trucks that lay in smoldering ruins and a gas station caught in the flames that lit up the area on Saturday night, ministry spokesman Tariq Arian said.

There was no immediate indication whether it was an accident or sabotage. It came the same day that the United States and NATO officially entered the final phase of a withdrawal from Afghanistan, ending an almost 20-year military engagement.

The 2,500 to 3,500 US troops and approximately 7,000 NATO Allied forces will leave Afghanistan no later than September 11, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks in the United States that first brought them to the United States. country.

Arian said the fire started when a spark ignited a tanker truck. Nearby tankers were quickly engulfed, sending giant flames and plumes of smoke into the night sky. The fire in the north of the city engulfed several homes and a nearby gas station. Several structures were destroyed and electricity to much of Kabul, which usually only has sporadic power, was cut off.

Truck drivers blocked the road to the area on Sunday demanding the government provide compensation.

The injured were mainly treated for burns at local hospitals.

The blaze came shortly after residents of the predominantly Muslim nation – marking the holy month of Ramadan when worshipers fast from sunrise to sunset – ended their one-day fast.

A driver, Haji Mir, said the explosion was deafening as trucks lined up to enter the city. He estimated that as many as 100 trucks could have burned down.

“The first explosion sounded like a mine explosion,” he said. “There were flames coming from a truck, then a second truck exploded and a third exploded.”

Dozens of tankers were moving slowly through the capital at the time of the fire. They had waited until after 9 p.m. when tankers and other large trucks were allowed to enter Kabul.

Obaidullah, a local resident with a name, said the fireballs were huge. His family and neighbors ran into their gardens.

“The fire lit up the sky,” he says. Drivers screamed for help as flames leapt from vehicle to vehicle. “The drivers were shouting that their co-pilots were stranded and burning.”

Firefighters arrived at the scene but their capacity was limited and it took hours to bring the blaze under control. Sunday morning, the flames were still twinkling in the ruins.


Associated Press photographer Rahmat Gul and video journalist Mohammad Shoaib Amin contributed to this report.

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