Investors on Tuesday said hundreds of Afghan trucks have been stranded in Iran following the fire at Islam Qala customs. Islam Qala, on the border with Iran, is a major trade port in the country.
The trucks are those driven to Iran to avoid the fire and were left across the border due to the halted customs activities in Islam Qala.
Investors said the trucks carry fresh fruit, food and raw material for factories. Some trucks are carrying vegetables that will spoil.
“At least 400 container trucks from our company have been stuck in Iran,” said Mohammad Latif Qanawezan, an investor. “Some trucks should enter Herat soon so they are unloaded, and their goods should be sent to cold storage facilities; otherwise, it will do major damage to the country’s economy.”
“At least 1,000 vehicles carrying food, fruit and goods are left with an unknown fate at Dogharoon port (in Iran) and they have no access to cold storage facilities,” said Abdul Zahir Tokhi, an investor.
“The food stuck across the border is about to spoil. The government should do something in this respect,” said Abdul Hamid Rahmani, a trader.
The Herat Chamber of Commerce and Investment said dozens of contracts worth millions of dollars have been left with an unknown fate.
“Contracts worth millions of dollars have been suspended… The country’s biggest crossing has been stopped,” the head of the chamber, Yunus Qazizada, said.
Herat governor Waheed Qatali said resuming the activities of the customs office will take some time, therefore, the trucks will wait across the border for one week.
“A team will identify how many of the 1,500 trucks that are across border have paid their taxes, how many of them are empty and how many of them should pay their tariffs,” Qatali said. “Our agreement with the neighboring country (Iran) is that the entrance of goods (to Afghanistan) will be stopped for one week until we resume customs services and find an alternative space (for the border crossing).”
The private sector representatives said that over 1,000 trucks were damaged in the fire while a source confirmed that the probe team has found that 902 trucks have been damaged in the incident that happened on Saturday afternoon.