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Heavy snow kills nine in Afghanistan as extreme weather blocks key highways

Several highways hit by snowfall and storms resulting in traffic shutdowns

Arpan Rai
Friday 01 March 2024 09:23 GMT
FILE: Afghan refugees in Pakistan being deported

At least nine people have died in Afghanistan and two have suffered injuries after the conflict-battered country was hit by heavy snowfall and storm, the Taliban’s caretaker government said on Friday.

The bad weather combined with snow and sub zero temperatures has hit provinces running from northern Afghanistan to southern parts of the country.

“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,” said Janan Saiq, the spokesperson for the Taliban-led ministry of state for disaster management, reported Afghan news channel Tolo news.

He added that the extreme weather destroyed residential houses and livestock.

Visuals shared by Afghan journalist in exile Bilal Sarwary showed extreme snowfall in western Afghanistan which led to a local losing his cattle.

“Snow is often seen as a blessing but not here for this Afghan man who lost his whole herd of sheep in Badghis province, deep in western Afghanistan,” he said on X, formerly Twitter.

Several highways have been hit by snowfall and storms, resulting in blockades of traffic movement until cleared.

The report added that several critical traffic roads and highways like the Kabul-Herat highways, Salang Pass and the Haji Gak Pass in Bamyan have been closed off for traffic.

Extreme snowfall in the country comes shortly after Herat province dozens of earthquakes killed more than 2,000 people and left several without homes. Afghanistan is also reeling from a mass deportation drive from Pakistan in October and November last year, which saw millions of locals forcibly exported out of the neighbouring nation and back into the Taliban-led regime.

Most provinces will likely witness heavy snowfall, heavy rain and flooding along with storms for the next two days, the report added citing the Afghan Meteorology Department of the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation.

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