26 February: Islam Qala, Afghanistan

After an explosion at the Islam Qala border crossing between Afghanistan and Iran, casualties and the destruction of a number of trucks, Afghanistan is looking to reform road transport with help from the International Road Transport Union. IRU Secretary General Umberto de Pretto met in late February with the Afghan Minister for Transport, Qudratullah Zaki, to discuss how such incidents could be avoided in the future. The IRU says incident at Islam Qala was particularly devastating because there were a huge number of trucks waiting at the border. The TIR system, based on the UN TIR Convention, smooths border-crossing procedures and enables goods to be cleared when they reach their destination, rather than at the border. Reducing congestion at borders significantly, the TIR system would also therefore mitigate damage and casualties resulting from accidents like the one at Islam Qala.