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Dozens Killed in Afghanistan and Pakistan Avalanches After Heavy Snowfall

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Child street vendors carry their wares as they walk through snow on the outskirts of Kabul

Dozens were killed by avalanches in the northeastern provinces surrounding Kabul over the last three days.

The Salang highway connecting northern and central Afghanistan and crossing high mountains was also closed and will remain blocked until the snow is cleared from the main road, said police general Rajab Salangi, who oversees the area.

Mohammad Omar Mohammadi, spokesman for the ministry of natural disasters in Afghanistan, told the AFP 54 were killed in the snow and 52 were injured.

Back in 2015, some 300 people lost their lives after they were buried under avalanches across the Asian country, majority in the eastern mountainous province of Panjshir, north of the capital, Kabul.

Bad weather and deep snow have hampered efforts of rescue workers to reach the isolated villages, raising fears the toll could rise sharply, according to officials.

"Several dozens are still trapped, we are trying to rescue them", said Naweed Frotan, spokesman for the province.

The Afghan government, on Sunday, declared a public holiday due to the heavy snowfall across the country.

It is believed some 45 people have been killed in the Nuristan province alone.

The main worldwide airport in Kabul has been closed because of snow and ice on the runway.

In Pakistan, 13 people were killed in an avalanche that buried five homes. Another nine - including four children - were killed in the nearby village of Shershal, which has received an estimated 4 feet of snow.

Earlier, an avalanche struck a village in Afghanistan's Badakhshan on Saturday where 10 people lost their lives and another 12 were severely injured.

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