updated 5/2/2004 1:21:43 PM ET 2004-05-02T17:21:43

An accidental explosion at a gas station killed at least 25 people in western Afghanistan, the government said Sunday.

At least another 40 people were injured in the blast near Shindand, 360 miles west of the capital, Kabul, in Herat province, President Hamid Karzai’s office said in a written statement.

Karzai was “deeply saddened by the news of the terrible accident caused by a fuel explosion” and extended his condolences to the families of the victims, the statement said.

It was not immediately clear what caused the blast or when occurred.

After more than two decades of war, many of impoverished Afghanistan’s gas stations are in poor repair.

Most Afghans buy gasoline — much of it smuggled and of poor quality — from roadside shacks, where it is poured from battered cans into their vehicles.

In March, a firm from the United Arab Emirates signed a $231 million agreement to build a network of modern fuel stations and pipelines over the next nine years.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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