Photo: BNA

Heavy Snowfalls Kill Dozens and Blocks Highways Across Afghanistan

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – Heavy snowfall and avalanches leave several casualties and widespread disruption of transportation routes throughout the country. 

At least eight people have reportedly lost their lives in Panjshir, and several others have suffered injuries as a result of avalanches. The Taliban’s Information and Culture Directorate reported two deaths and one injury in the first district. However, local sources suggest that five people were killed in the Safid Chehr village of the first district. Additionally, avalanches took three more lives in the Khinj district.      

Taliban officials say the impact of the snowfall is severe and the need for support is urgent. They say the situation is continually evolving as they try to provide assistance to the affected regions, particularly in Panjshir.

The Taliban-controlled Bakhtar News Agency has also reported closures and significant challenges in multiple provinces. The announcement on Monday, February 19th, reported the closure of transportation routes in Bamyan and Daykundi provinces in the central highland region. In Bamyan, the Shatu pass, Aqul Qol Kerman, and Yakaolang district routes are reportedly impassable.

Simultaneously, in Daykundi, the vital Qonaq pass route connecting Daykundi to Bamyan and Kabul, along with public transportation routes from Kejran and Kiti districts to central Daykundi, as well as the Khadir pass and Ashtarli routes, are also shut down.

The repercussions of the snowfall extend beyond these provinces. Heavy snowfalls and severe storms have affected, transportation routes including the Salang Highway, Ghor – Kabul route, Konar-Nuristan, and the seven districts of Badakhshan to its capital Faizabad.

At the same time, a landslide triggered by heavy snowfall in the eastern Nuristan province killed and injured dozens, including women and children. The death toll has now risen to 28, with 30 reported injuries, further intensifying the impact of the devastating natural disaster in the Tatin valley of Nurgaram district on February 18th.

Although costly and fatal, people are hopeful that these snowfalls will alleviate water scarcity   in the coming year after several years of drought.