An explosion in a coal mine in Afghanistan’s Northern Province of Samangan is thought to have killed at least 18 people, an official said on Wednesday.
The search team found six bodies inside one of the tunnels, provincial governor spokesman Mohammad Seddiq Azizi said, adding that two people were also killed outside the mine as a result of the blast.
At least 16 workers were working inside the mine at the time of the accident.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum, Qader Mutfi, said that high-density methane gas had slowed down the search for bodies.
On Tuesday morning, three adjacent coal mines exploded due to the ignition of methane gas in Dar-e Suf district, which is part of the impoverished province of Samangan.
Many people in the province are involved in illegal mining, which is carried out without proper safety equipment, according to the officials.
Local residents, criminal groups and armed militants have for years been involved in the illegal excavation of precious stones, coal and various natural minerals in Helmand, Nangarhar, Samangan, Panjsher, and Badakhshan provinces, Mutfi said.