Afghanistan tunnel avalanches kill 24 in Hindu Kush

Afghanistan tunnel avalanches kill 24 in Hindu Kush
# 09 February 2010 17:40 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. A series of avalanches around a mountain tunnel in Afghanistan has killed at least 24 people and left hundreds more stranded, officials say, APA reports citing BBC.

The avalanches - following several days of heavy snow - hit the area around the Salang Tunnel, high in the Hindu Kush.

Officials fear the number of casualties could rise as rescuers make their way to the areas worst hit. Meanwhile an Indian soldier was killed and 13 others rescued after a second avalanche in two days in Kashmir.

The snow struck an army post in Indian-administered Kashmir along the Line of Control adjoining Pakistani-administered Kashmir, officials say.

At least 17 Indian soldiers were killed on Monday after an avalanche hit a military training camp in Indian-administered Kashmir, the army said.

Afghan officials say some of the victims froze to death in cars or were overcome by exhaust fumes in the Salang Tunnel.

The tunnel is the main route from the Afghan capital, Kabul, to the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif. Relief teams are still trying to clear the route near the tunnel, they added.

The defence ministry said that around 1,500 people stranded by the avalanches since Monday afternoon had already been rescued.