The massive fire at the border town of Islam Qala, 120 kilometers west of Herat city, has inflicted hundreds of millions of dollars in financial damage to investors who kept their goods parked at the area and distributed them to other parts of the country once they were cleared through customs.
Unconfirmed figures show that thousands of vehicles carrying fuel and mostly imported goods have been damaged.
The fire was fully extinguished after almost 24 hours on Sunday afternoon, according to the Ministry of Finance, which said a team has been assigned to measure the damages caused by the blaze.
“Over the last two years, we were shouting and telling the president and vice first president and all leaders that there is no infrastructure in Islam Qala customs office… No one heard our voice,” said Yunus Qazizada, head of Herat Chamber of Commerce and Investment.
Local officials said some goods and even trucks were looted following the blaze.
The Ministry of Finance said that the investors who have suffered damage in the fire will be compensated.
“After it is assessed and all damages are measured, the delegation will make a proposal to the president on how to compensate,” said Amina Ahmadi, head of customs office of the Ministry of Finance.
“Our cars have been burned. Three cars from our relatives were burned. Each cost 30,000 to 35,000 dollars and no one helped us,” said Abdul Zahir, a driver.
“The delegation has cordoned off the area. The soldiers take 2,000 Afs from this route and 3,000 Afs for entrance through that route,” said Noor Ahmad, a driver, referring to saving their goods after the fire was extinguished.
Iranian firefighters also took part in extinguishing the fire. They arrived at the scene on Saturday evening, said officials.
“We are here to help our Afghan brothers. We entered Afghanistan yesterday. The blaze was very wide yesterday at 4 pm,” said Mohsin Asadi, an Iranian firefighter.
Herat officials said that 17 people sustained injuries in the incident. The fire started after a fuel truck exploded, officials said, adding that the blaze extended very quickly.