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Snowy Winter Claims Lives After a Multi-Year Drought

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – The Taliban authorities have reported that at least nine people have died and many transport routes have closed due to cold weather and the ongoing snowfall across Afghanistan.

The Taliban’s Ministry of State for Disaster Management spokesperson, Janan Sayeq, told reporters that recent snowfall in several provinces have demolished several houses and claimed the lives of dozens of livestock.

“Due to cold weather and rainfall in Kandahar, Helmand, Badghis, Sar-e-Pol, Badakhshan and Jawzjan, nine people have died and two have been injured,” Sayeq said.

Since the past few days, parts of Afghanistan, including Kabul, have been experiencing heavy snowfalls.

Previously, the Afghanistan Meteorological Department under Taliban control issued a warning regarding heavy rain, snow, and potential flash floods in 24 provinces across the country over the upcoming days.

According to the Taliban Ministry of Public Work, highways linking northern Afghanistan with Kabul and southern regions, such as the Kabul-Herat highway, Salang Pass, and the Haji Gak Pass in central Bamyan province, have been affected by heavy snowfall and storms.

In addition, besides the blockage of most of the country’s highways, reports indicate that the operation of flights at three airports in the country has been temporarily suspended.

Mohammad Ashraf Haqshinas, the spokesman of the ministry, said, “The Salang highway and several other routes in the provinces of Bamyan, Ghazni, Ghor, Daikundi, Farah, and Badghis are still blocked for traffic due to heavy snowfall.”

Yesterday, Taliban authorities in the northern Faryab province reported that recent heavy snowfall and cold weather have resulted in the deaths of at least one person and over two thousand livestock.

The Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, confirmed the news, mentioning that they are trying to address the issue and have allocated AFN 50 million ($690,000) for the recent natural disaster across the country.

Afghanistan is one of the world’s poorest countries, racked by decades of war, prone to natural disasters and vulnerable to extreme weather events linked to climate change.

Mountainous region of Afghanistan has long been vulnerable to landslides and floods, but in recent years risks have increased due to deforestation and drought.

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 ago, 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.