KUNDUZ: An airstrike carried out by the NATO force in Afghanistan targeted a fuel tanker hijacked by Taliban insurgents causing dozens of casualties on Friday, officials and witnesses said.
"Last night, the Taliban tried to take a fuel tanker that they hijacked on the highway to Angorbagh village," said Baryalai Basharyar Parwani, police chief of the Ali Abad district in northern Kunduz province.
"The fuel tanker got stuck in the river. There were local civilians with them as well. The Taliban were bombed. More than 60 people have been killed and injured," he said.
A spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) under NATO told AFP: "It was an ISAF airstrike."
Wounded people with horrific burns crowded a hospital in Kunduz, the capital in the northern province which lies on a main supply line for the more than 100,000 foreign troops based in Afghanistan, said an AFP reporter.
Around eight bodies were in terrible condition -- the skin burnt black and peeling off to expose raw red muscle. Others were so badly wounded, they were incapable of crying, with their badly burnt clothes stuck to their flesh.
Hospital authorities could not provide an immediate number of the wounded as more patients kept arriving, crowding the recovery rooms and corridors.
Mohammad Daud, 32, told AFP at the hospital that Taliban insurgents hijacked two fuel tankers on the highway destined for foreign troops in Afghanistan and were trying to transport them across a river to villages in Angorbagh.
"They managed to take one of the tankers over the river. The second got stuck so they told villagers to come and take the diesel," Daud said.
"Villagers rushed to the fuel tanker with any available container that they had, including water buckets and pots for cooking oil.
"There were 10 to 15 Taliban on top of the tanker. This was when they were bombed. Everyone around the fuel tanker died.
"Nobody was in one piece. Hands, legs and body parts were scattered everywhere. Those who were away from the fuel tanker were badly burnt."