At least 19 people have been killed and 32 injured after a fuel tanker exploded in a tunnel north of the Afghan capital Kabul.
The incident happened late yesterday in the province of Parwan, north of Kabul, leaving travellers on both sides of the mountainous pass stranded.
“An oil tanker overturned and caught fire in the Salang tunnel, which then set several other vehicles on fire,” Misbah said.
A spokesman for Parwan province, Said Himatullah Shamim, said the 19 people killed include women and children and survivors remain trapped under rubble adding that the number of casualties could rise.
According to local official Dr. Abdullah Afghan Parwan’s health department has received 14 dead and 24 injured so far.
There are five women and two children among the dead, he said, and the rest are men who are severely burnt and cannot be recognised.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Public Works, Molvi Hamidullah Misbah, said earlier Sunday that the fire was extinguished and that teams were still working to clear the tunnel.
The Salang pass, one of the highest mountain highways in the world at around 3,650 metres (12,000 feet) was built by Soviet-era specialists in the 50s and includes a 2.6-kilometre tunnel.