LANDI KOTAL, March 23: At least 50 people suffered burn injuries when a series of explosions triggered a huge blaze, destroying about 30 to 40 oil tankers in a parking area near the Torkham border town on Sunday.
Two explosions rocked the parking area of a dry stream around 7:50pm, triggering a series of small explosions and the huge fire, engulfing at least 30 to 40 tankers carrying oil for the US-led allied forces in Afghanistan. About 70 to 100 oil tankers were parked at the place at the time of the blasts, eye-witnesses said.
They said that the injured people had gathered at the site after the fire erupted in the parking area following the blasts. Most of them suffered burns while some were injured while fleeing after an oil tanker exploded at around 9:30pm. The injured people, some of them in serious condition, were shifted to the Landi Kotal hospital. Three of them were taken to Peshawar.
An official said that the road from the Machani checkpost to Torkham had been closed and security personnel stopping people from going to the area. This was the third incident of its kind in the area in three weeks.
Local people said that the political administration or customs authorities had not arrived at the place till late in the evening. They said that the oil flowed onto the road and people stayed away for fear of more explosions. Flames were raging till the filing of this report.
Sources said that two high-level meetings had been held in Torkham this month, attended by representatives of the allied forces, political administration, Pakistan customs authorities, Afghan customs officials and Afghan security forces to discuss ways of providing security to tankers carrying oil to Afghanistan. The meetings, one of which was held a couple of days ago, also discussed ways of to expediting clearance of oil tankers at the border.