KABUL Feb 5 Parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan
struggled to dig out from heavy snow on Sunday, with dozens of
people reported killed and some major highways closed.
Heavy snow also blanketed the Afghan capital of Kabul, where
the government closed its offices.
In northern Afghanistan's Badakhshan province, over the
past two days as many as 19 people were killed and 17 injured by
avalanches, collapsed roofs and road accidents, said Naweed
Frotan, a spokesman for the provincial governor.
The government was working to reach at least 12 districts in
Badakhshan that had been completely cut off, he added.
On the other side of the border, at least nine people,
including children, were killed by an avalanche in northern
Pakistan's Chitral district, with as many as 14 residents still
trapped in collapsed houses, said district official Syed
"So far the rescue workers have recovered nine bodies and
efforts are under way to retrieve more," he said.
The snow wreaked havoc on major roads in Afghanistan,
including the Kabul-Kandahar Highway, where police and soldiers
had to rescue around 250 cars and buses trapped by the storm,
said Jawid Salangi, a spokesman for Ghazni province, where as
much as two metres of new snow was reported.
"Some people were carried to local residents' houses and
some to military and police checkpoints," he said, noting that
officials expected the road to reopen quickly. "Fortunately we
arrived on time and there is not a single causality."
The Salang pass north of Kabul was also closed under as much
as two and a half metres of snow, according to police general
Rajab Salangi, who oversees the area.
"It will remain blocked until the snow is cleared from the
main road, facilities are provided and it is safe to travel," he
(Reporting by Mirwais Harooni in Kabul and Jibran Ahmad in
Peshawar, Pakistan; Writing by Josh Smith; Editing by Nick