Many killed after fuel tanker explodes in tunnel in Afghanistan

At least 19 people were killed and 32 injured when a fuel tanker exploded in a tunnel north of the Afghan capital, Kabul, a local official has said.

The Salang Tunnel, about 80 miles (130km) north of Kabul, was originally built in the 1960s to assist the Soviet invasion. It is a key route linking the country’s north and south.

A spokesperson for Parwan province, Said Himatullah Shamim, said the explosion on Saturday night killed at least 19 people, including women and children. He said survivors remained trapped under rubble and that the number of casualties could rise.

It was not immediately clear what caused the incident, which happened at about 8.30pm.

Doctors prepare for the arrival of victims of the blast at the Salang Tunnel. Photograph: AP

Parwan’s health department has received 14 dead and 24 injured so far, according to a local official, Dr Abdullah Afghan. Five women and two children were among the dead, he added. Some of the victims were severely burned and could not be identified.

A spokesperson for the ministry of public works, Molvi Hamidullah Misbah, said earlier on Sunday that the fire had been extinguished and emergency teams were still working to clear the tunnel.

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