Photo: BNA via X

Heavy Snowfall Blocks Multiple Transport Routes Across Afghanistan

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – Heavy snowfalls and storms have resulted in the closure of many routes and highways across Afghanistan, with Taliban authorities warning citizens against using them.

The Taliban Ministry of Public Works announced on Monday, February 26th, that the Salang pass, connecting northern Afghanistan with the capital Kabul and southern provinces, is closed to traffic due to heavy snowfalls and storms in the region.

In a social media post last night, Ashraf Haqshinas, the Taliban spokesperson for the ministry, announced the temporary closure of the Salang pass to all kinds of traffic until further notice, aiming to prevent loss of lives and financial losses.

He stated that snowfall is still continuing in the region, with some areas accumulating more than one meter of snow.

The Taliban-controlled Bakhtar News Agency reported yesterday the closure of routes in six districts of central Ghor province due to heavy snowfall in the region over the past few days.

The Taliban authorities in Western Herat province also reported yesterday the closure of the Herat-Torghundi highway due to heavy snowfall and icy conditions in the region.

Meanwhile, Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA), controlled by the Taliban, reports heavy snowfall and storms in central Daykundi province, leading to the closure of many routes within the province, including its main road connecting it to Bamyan, the capital Kabul, and other neighboring provinces.

Since the past few days, parts of Afghanistan, including Kabul, have been experiencing heavy snowfalls. Two days earlier, the Taliban-controlled Afghanistan Meteorological Department warned of the possibility of heavy rain and snow, including flash floods, in 24 provinces across the country this week.

The recent heavy snowfall has also led to significant landslides in various regions of the country, claiming dozens of lives in the eastern part. A week prior, Taliban authorities in eastern Nuristan province reported that at least 28 people, including women and children, had been killed and dozens more injured due to heavy landslides. 

The abnormally delayed, costly, and deadly snowfall this year in a country heavily reliant on agriculture and livestock has forced farmers in many provinces to delay planting. They worry that while the rain and snow might alleviate the suffering from drought, the timing would still hamper crop yields in the upcoming harvest season.