At least 70 people were killed when two buses and an oil tanker collided in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday, the health ministry said, giving a sharply higher toll than other officials.
"Most of the dead were burned beyond recognition," ministry spokesman Ismail Kawoosi said.
According to information given by the spokesman for the governor of the eastern Ghazni province, Jawed Salangi, at least 70 people who were on the buses were wounded in the accident, which set all three vehicles ablaze.
Records show the two buses were carrying a total of 125 passengers, Salangi said. "With 73 survivors out of the 125, 52 people are dead," he said, adding that the survivors had been transferred to hospitals.
The collision occurred at 7 AM on the main highway linking the capital, Kabul, to the southern city of Kandahar. Salangi said the road had been cleared and re-opened in the early afternoon.
The buses were traveling one behind the other from Kabul to Kandahar when the accident happened, according to Mohammadullah Ahmadi, director of the provincial traffic department. He blamed the crash on reckless driving.
He said local residents helped firefighters and first responders pull survivors from the wreckage.
Road accidents are common in Afghanistan, where roads are often in poor condition and traffic laws are rarely enforced.