High-resolution satellite imagery shows the effects of a massive fire that gobbled up hundreds of trucks on February 13 in Afghanistan’s Islam Qala, a major border crossing between Afghanistan and Iran’s Herat province. At least 60 people were injured, the AFP news agency reported.
The new images are from Maxars WorldView 3 satellites and were taken on Wednesday. The images show that days after the first explosion, which was visible from space, the debris continued to smolder.
More than 500 trucks carrying natural gas and fuel were destroyed.
The Islam Qala border crossing is a lifeline for millions in Afghanistan. Under a special concession, the United States allows Afghanistan to import fuel and oil from Iran.
The effects of the fire were so severe that Afghanistan had to cut Iran’s electricity supply, leaving the western city of Herat in the dark.
The damage is believed to be in the range of $ 50 million. “The fire caused damage of around US $ 50 million, but a more accurate figure will be available in the coming days,” Younus Qazi Zada, head of the Herat Chamber of Commerce, was quoted by AFP on Sunday.
“The disaster was much bigger than expected,” he said.
The Islam Qala border crossing is in an area where the Taliban can move freely, on a dangerous stretch of highway 120 km west of Herat.
Videos posted on social media Saturday night showed the towering fire and huge clouds of thick black smoke rising into the sky.
During the fire, looters climbed onto the site and stole goods that were imported and exported across the border.