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Death toll from Afghan avalanches rises

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Death toll from Afghan avalanches rises


It is being called one of the worst natural disasters in recent years in Afghanistan, where it is now known that a series of avalanches has claimed at least 170 lives.

Many may still be buried under the snow in their vehicles, which were trapped in the Salang pass and its tunnel.

Over the weekend the government said some 3,000 people were caught in the avalanches. While the mobilisation of 1,000 Afghan troops has meant 1,500 people have been rescued so far in three days of back-breaking digging, the final death toll could be much higher.

The tunnel and valley are the main route from Kabul into the north of the country, and are situated at an altitude of 3,400 metres.

Some people have been pulled alive from a bus after being buried for 37 hours. At least nine cars and two buses were thown off the road into the valley floor with the force of the snowfall.

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