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Afghanistan bus crash kills at least 50 people

A highway collision involving two buses and a fuel tanker in eastern Afghanistan has left at least 50 people dead and 73 injured. The cause of the crash was not immediately clear.

The crash happened at around 7 a.m. local time (0230 UTC) on Sunday on the main highway linking the Afghan capital, Kabul, to the southern city of Kandahar. All three vehicles were reportedly set ablaze upon colliding and completely gutted.

Representing the governor of Afghanistan's eastern Ghazni province, spokesman Jawed Salangi said 73 people who were also on the bus were "seriously wounded" in the incident.

"Up to 52" people, including many women and children, were killed in the crash, Salangi said, with the death toll expected to rise.

Afghanistan's health ministry put the number of dead at 73.

Although the cause of the collision was not immediately clear, Mohammadullah Ahmadi, director of the provincial traffic department, blamed the accident on reckless driving.

The Kabul-Kandahar highway passes through militancy prone areas and many bus drivers are known to drive recklessly at top speeds so as not to get caught in insurgent activity.

Road accidents are a common occurrence in Afghanistan, where roads are often in poor condition and traffic laws are rarely enforced.

ksb/mm/rc (AP, dpa)

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