Bad weather caused 17 snow avalanches in the Afghanistan Hindu Kush mountain range, burying hundreds of cars on a mountain highway and leaving dozens dead. “Calculations of the death toll ranged widely, but official accounts said that at least 64 people were either known or feared dead and that the total could rise as rescuers dug their way to vehicles trapped under hundreds of tons of snow and ice. The interior minister, Mohammad Hanif Atmar, said that nearly a mile of the highway remained buried as of Tuesday evening. He added that the authorities had recovered 24 bodies, and that rescuers had already moved out 128 injured people. ‘There could be up to 40 more still stranded, and unfortunately they may have died already,’ Mr. Atmar said. In its own calculation, the Ministry of Defense said in a statement that 30 people had been confirmed dead so far. The calamity began Monday at the southern approaches of the 12,000-foot-high Salang Pass, just south of a tunnel through the mountains, which connects Kabul with northern Afghanistan. Mr. Atmar said a storm with heavy wind and rain blew in suddenly during the afternoon, setting off a series of avalanches above the highway, which is cut into mountainsides and often runs high above a river gorge.”
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