Fire engulfed most parts of at least three key facilities containing fuel and gas tankers in key border towns in Farah and Herat provinces west of Afghanistan in the last two months, leaving analysts with suspicions over the back-to-back occurrence of such incidents.
The latest incident happened on Saturday morning in which a facility containing gas tankers in the city of Herat caught fire and left huge damage to the business community as the private sector described. Another incident happened in Farah in March.
The private sector representatives said that the continuation of the trend could pose huge impacts on the country’s economy. They asked relevant institutions to take measures to help prevent such incidents.
Ghulam Ali, a small business owner in Herat, said he lost nearly $30,000 worth of his fuel assets in the fire that broke out at Islam Qala border town in February.
Overall, 1,300 containers were burnt down in the blaze that gripped a vast area of the Islam Qala customs office in Herat where hundreds of fuel tankers are kept.
“Why fuel should be kept at the customs office for fifteen days? The government should complete the tax process within 24 hours,” Ali said.
“There are no warehouses. For instance, in Islam Qala port, it is lying over 2,000 acres of land, but customs facilities have been built on 50 acres of land. There are also barriers that have limited the movements of the vehicles,” said Khan Jan Alokozai, the deputy head of Afghanistan Chambers Federation.
Analysts said that lack of modern equipment and lack of proper loading and unloading process in border towns are main issues that create such incidents.
“The officials have committed negligence. There was also the issue of corruption at the customs office (in Herat),” said Khoshal Watandost, an MP.
The business community said that a team probed the Islam Qala fire, but it has not made public its findings.