Afghanistan avalanche toll rises to 162 amid rescue efforts in snowbound valley

A senior Afghan military officer says the death toll from an avalanche caused by heavy winter snows in a mountainous valley northeast of the capital Kabul has risen to 162.

KABUL — A senior Afghan military officer says the death toll from an avalanche caused by heavy winter snows in a mountainous valley northeast of the capital Kabul has risen to 162.

Gen. Kadam Shah Shahim, commander of the Afghan army’s Kabul Corps, says 1,000 troops had been deployed to Panjshir province, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) from Kabul, to assist rescue efforts. He says the toll is expected to rise.

Abdul Rahman Kabiri, the acting governor of Panjshir, said many people had been pulled alive from houses buried by the snow.

Heavy snows this week across four northeastern provinces caused deadly avalanches and flooding. Power to Kabul was cut and the Salang Tunnel connecting the north and south was closed.

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