Huge blaze on Afghan border didn’t damage Iran’s customs post

February 14, 2021 - 14:37

TEHRAN – A fuel tanker blast at the Iran-Afghanistan border that caused massive fire did not affect a key crossing on the eastern border with Afghanistan, a local Iranian official has said.

The local official from Iran’s Khorasan Razavi province said that the fire in Afghanistan’s Islam Qala border crossing had not spread to Iran’s Dogharoon post, according to Press TV. 

“Up to now there has been no report about damage on the Dogharoon border terminal,” said Omid Jahankhah, who serves as supervisor of customs offices in Khorasan Razavi.

Videos and footages circulating on social media on Saturday showed dozens of fuel tankers were damaged in the massive explosion in Islam Qala.

The fire also caused massive damage to infrastructure in the area, including pylons that transmit electricity from Iran to the urban regions in Herat.

Jahankhah would not elaborate on the number of Iranian trucks damaged by the fire on the Afghan side of the border, saying details would emerge after an initial study of the situation on the ground.

According to a Press TV report, at least 60 people had been injured in the blaze. Others said many lorry drivers are feared dead.  

After a senior local Afghan official in Herat said Afghan first responders did not have the means to put out the huge fire, Iran offered assistance to Afghanistan. Wahid Qatali, Herat’s provincial governor, said Afghanistan had requested support from Iran in the form of firefighting aircraft.

Iranian rescue teams and firefighters rushed to the scene of the explosion in Islam Qala after the governor of Herat asked for assistance.

Iran’s official IRNA agency said that the governor of Khorasan Razavi province had also traveled to the region to personally supervise the rescue operation.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry confirmed that Iran rushed to help Afghanistan. In a statement on Saturday, ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said Tehran was offering assistance to put out the massive fire caused by the explosion of a gas tank.

The spokesman said that following an explosion at a gas tanker at the Islam Qala customs post on February 13, 2021, and the ensuing massive blaze there, the governor of Afghanistan’s Herat province contacted the governor of the northeastern Iranian province of Khorasan Razavi and asked for help to contain the spread of the fire and prevent further harm to the installations as well as people at the customs post.

“Preliminary arrangements were made immediately to offer more facilities to the individuals and vehicles engulfed by the blaze in area, and the Iranian consul general in Herat made contacts with authorities in the province, including the provincial governor, to review the dimensions of the incident,” Khatibzadeh pointed out.

He continued, “Moreover, in coordination with the [Iranian] Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Border Guard Unit and other relevant institutions, the Islam Qala-Dogharoun border post was opened to trucks, vehicles and people fleeing from the blaze to the Iranian border.”

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has also adopted measures to help those possibly hurt or wounded, and contacts are underway between relevant officials of both countries in that regard,” Khatibzadeh explained.

“So far, there have been no reports on individuals possibly hurt in the incident, and we have received no word, either, on possible harm to Iranian nationals,” the spokesman noted.

“We hope the blaze will be contained soon with the help of both countries’ officials,” he said.

Iran is a major supplier of goods to Afghanistan and Dogharoon and Islam Qala terminals are busy with tanker trucks that transport fuel across the border.

The crossings also process passengers and cargo transit through Iran to Afghanistan and vice versa.

SM/PA
 

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