90 dead in Afghan explosion as Taliban distributes fuel | world | Hindustan Times
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90 dead in Afghan explosion as Taliban distributes fuel

world Updated: Sep 04, 2009 13:17 IST

Ninety people were killed on Friday when two hijacked oil tankers exploded in the northern Afghan province of Kunduz as Taliban militants were distributing fuel to civilians, said provincial governor Mohammad Omar.

The militants stopped the two oil trucks on Thursday night on the highway connecting Kunduz with the neighbouring province of Baghlan, Omar said.

They took the trucks to Kunduz's Chardarah district, where the explosion occurred early on Friday as civilians gathered to pick up the fuel, he said.

The cause of the blast was not immediately known, the governor said, but local residents said a military jet fired at the tanker, setting off the explosion.

According to information obtained by DPA from the German army, NATO fighter jets were deployed during fighting with the Taliban and shot at the tankers.

The German army confirmed in a statement that the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) was engaged in fighting with the Taliban who hijacked the tankers, saying 56 militants were killed.

ISAF troops discovered the Taliban and the tankers, setting off a battle in which there were no civilian or German casualties, the German army's Operations Command said.

A German army spokesman in Berlin said the tankers exploded during the battle.

Omar said that the explosion claimed the lives of 45 civilians and the remaining dead were Taliban, including a commander.

A security officer who asked not to be named said 200 people were killed and wounded in the explosion while residents put the casualties at 300.