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500 vehicles in flames after fuel tanker explodes on Afghanistan-Iran border


(From the files of CNN)

More than 500 vehicles burst into flames at the Afghanistan-Iranian border Saturday afternoon after a fuel truck there exploded, provincial officials told Afghanistan's TOLO News.

The blaze took place at the customs office in Islam Qala, in Afghanistan's western province of Herat.

Pictures from the scene show tall flames and thick black smoke plumes, visible even from a distance.

According to Mohammad Rafiq Sherzai, spokesman for the Herat public health department, at least 17 people were injured and taken to the Islam Qala clinic and Herat Regional Hospital. There is no further information on casualties available yet.

Everyone was terrified. They were fleeing. Cars were stuck,” Everyone was terrified. They were escaping. Cars were stuck,"

Herat Gov. Waheed Qatali said officials were seeking help from Iran because there was a lack of resources for the Afghan side to put out the huge blaze.

According to the Iranian state-run IRNA news agency, Iran will dispatch relief and rescue teams to the region to assist in the emergency response efforts, as requested by Herat officials.

Iranian state-run Press TV reported that the damage was on the border's Afghan side and did not affect the customs of Iran.

"Up to now there has been no report about damage on Dogharoon border terminal," said Omid Jahankhah, supervisor of customs offices in Iran's Razavi Khorasan province, according to Press TV. Iran is a major supplier of goods to Afghanistan, according to Press TV, and the terminals are often packed with fuel tankers.

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