Officials in Afghanistan say a head-on collision between a passenger bus and a fuel tanker has claimed the lives of at least 36 people in the country’s south.
“The passenger bus was on its way from Kandahar to Kabul when it collided with a fuel tanker. In the accident, 35 people were killed and more than 20 others were wounded,” said Bismillah Afghanmal, the provincial governor of Zabul, where the accident occurred on Sunday.
He said the collision had sparked a fire and many of the victims, including women and children, had been burned beyond recognition as a result.
According to Ghulam Jalani Farahi, the deputy police chief in Zabul, some of the wounded were transferred to hospitals in the provincial capital city of Qalat and the rest to the neighboring Kandahar Province.
Another Afghan official has offered a death toll of 36 from the accident.
The Kabul-Kandahar highway passes through areas frequently ambushed by the Taliban militants, and many bus drivers drive recklessly at top speeds so as not to get caught by the militant group.
In a similar accident in May, at least 73 people were killed when two passenger buses and an oil tanker collided and burst into flames in the eastern Ghazni Province, in one of the worst road accidents in Afghanistan.
In April 2013, a bus hit a wrecked fuel tanker in the southern province of Kandahar, claiming 45 lives.