Two weeks after the massive fire at the Islam Qala customs department in Herat province, it is unclear what caused the incident.
It has been one week since a probe-team was assigned by the government to investigate the incident comprehensively and find its underlying causes. The probe team has yet to make the results public.
Some of the probe team members say that their investigation is not complete and it is not clear how many more days it will take to be completed.
Meanwhile, the Afghan private sector criticized the probe team for their slow investigation and called on the government to shed light on the incident and compensate the losses they suffered from the incident.
“The investigative team has started its work in three committees, the investigation is continuing and has not been completed yet. Once completed, we will share the results with the relevant entities, as well as with the people of Afghanistan,” said Ghulam Bahauddin Jailani, state minister for disaster management.
The private sector is demanding the government compensates the merchants and truck owners who suffered losses in the catastrophic incident.
“The investigative team's findings should be precise and quick, merchants and truck owners who have suffered from the incident need to start over. If there will be a delay in the process, the private sector will face more problems,” said Mohammad Rafi Rahmani, executive director of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI).
Those merchants whose trucks and commodities burned in the incident say that they have lost whatever they had and now are looking forward to the results of the government investigation, seeking compensation for the losses they endured in the incident.
“We expect the investigative team and the president of Afghanistan to give their best effort to making a legitimate investigation of the incident and compensation must be paid to those who lost their assets,” said Mohammad Tahiri, one of the merchants.
Experts say that the government must pay compensation from its discretionary budget funds to truck owners and merchants who have sustained losses.
“The government has to compensate the losses from the fund code 92, allocating 16 billion Afs, and fund code 25, allocating 25 billion Afs, according to the relevant law in the code, so that the private sector can be restored,” said Mohammad Yaqub Mashuof, an economics expert.
The government figures show that over one thousand loaded trucks were damaged or destroyed at the Islam Qala massive fire that broke out in Herat province last month.
It has been reported that some trucks full of goods and commodities were looted by residents and local powerful men during and after the incident.