Salang Tunnel Fire

Death Toll Rises to 63 in Salang Tunnel Fire

At least 63 people have died and more than 30 others wounded in a horrific fire that erupted on Saturday night, December 17, inside the Salang Tunnel pass in northern Afghanistan, sources told Kabul Now. Taliban authorities, however, confirmed 31 dead and 37 wounded.

The fire broke out from a fuel tanker inside the tunnel and rapidly engulfed other vehicles carrying passengers. A source in the Salang district of the northern Parwan province said that a liquid gas tanker exploded inside the tunnel after the fire eruption.

Hamidullah Mesbah, a spokesperson for the Taliban Ministry of Public Works, had claimed on Sunday, December 18, that the firefighters curtailed the fire around 08:00 AM on Sunday.

A source aware of the incident, however, told Kabul Now that the firefighters couldn’t enter the tunnel until Sunday evening due to the darkness and the thick smoke inside it.

Part of the tunnel’s ceiling has collapsed, the source added.

Regarding the casualty toll, the Taliban authorities have made different accounts and provided different figures as yet.

Sharing the latest update, Sharafat Zaman, a spokesman for the Taliban Ministry of Public Health, confirmed that they have transferred 31 dead bodies and 37 wounded to hospitals so far.

The toll is not final, he said in a tweet on Monday, implying the casualty toll could rise further.

Salang Tunnel pass is built on Kabul – Mazar Highway which connects Afghanistan’s southern, central, and western provinces to the northern part of the country.

As a result of the horrific fire eruption, the tunnel is closed and Taliban authorities have asked people not to travel through it.

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