Massive fuel truck fire rips through Kabul; 7 killed, 14 injured

A massive fire ripped through north of Afghan capital, Kabul killing seven people and injuring 14 others.

The spokesman for the state interior ministry, Tariq Arian, said authorities were still investigating how the fire started, but he ruled out a “terrorist incident”.

Arian said the fire began when a spark set a fuel tanker ablaze. Several tankers nearby were quickly engulfed, sending giant flames and plumes of smoke into the night sky before the fire moved on to several homes and a nearby gas station.

Several structures were destroyed and electricity to much of Kabul, which usually has only sporadic power, was knocked out.

The wounded were being treated mostly for burns in local hospitals. Truck drivers on Sunday blocked the road leading to the area, demanding the government provide compensation.

Firefighters arrived at the scene but their capacity was limited and it took hours to bring the blaze under control.

The blaze came a day after the United States and NATO officially began the final phase of a withdrawal from Afghanistan, ending a nearly 20-year military engagement.

All of the 2,500 to 3,500 US soldiers and about 7,000 NATO allied forces will be out of Afghanistan at the latest by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the attacks in the US that first brought them into the country.

In mid-February, a huge fire occurred on the border between Afghanistan and Iran involving hundreds of trucks and containers worth millions of dollars after a fuel truck exploded. At least 17 people were injured.