The joint task team made up of members of the private sector and the House of Representatives, which went to the Islam Qala customs area to investigate the cause of the fire that started on Saturday, said that a "non-standard method of sampling of liquid natural gas" by the Afghanistan National Standards Authority.
According to the findings of the task team, "corrupt and negligent behavior" of customs officials at Islam Qala was the main cause of the fire's expansion.
Meanwhile, officials at the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment said that investors and traders are no longer interested in importing their goods through Islam Qala due to the lack of capacity and resources at the customs area.
“We are not interested in putting our investments into the fire at any cost ... until there is a proper system in the Islam Qala customs and only when the perpetrators are punished,” said Khan Jan Alokozay, a member of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment.
“The Afghanistan National Standards Authority and TCRC company received the money for the testing of fuels. The fire broke out during the sample testing after a motorbike passed through. After that, the customs officials and the commissioner did not accomplish their tasks—the second factor is corruption,” said Sadiq Qaderi, a member of parliament from Herat.
TOLOnews’ reporter Naseer Ahmad Salehi reported that the existence of pits around the custom also hindered the trucks from fleeing the blaze.
Drivers at the scene told Salehi that the pits were dug to enable extortion by customs officials.
“They dug pits with an excavator around the trucks to conduct their extortions, they receive 7,000 to 8,000 Afs from each truck,” said Mohammad Nader, a driver at the Islam Qala customs.
“They have dug pits around 5,000 trucks, there is only one way that is only 3 meters wide. When we tried to escape the fire, the trucks got stuck in pits—for instance, 500 trucks were lining up behind each other to pass through a three-meter way, if one of them gets a technical problem, the rest have to wait,” said Abdul Zahir, a driver.
“They hit the truck with a bullet, the driver told police to let him go away from the fire, the police said first give me 1,000, the driver said, “Aren’t you a Muslim?” and then the police shot him in the leg,” said driver Masoom Shah.
Based on the statistics, 1,000 trucks burned in the blaze and the business community has suffered millions of dollars of damage.