UPDATED 2/11/2010: The death toll from a series of avalanches that struck a mountain pass in northern Afghanistan has risen to 167, with hundreds more wounded, authorities said Thursday. At least 2,100 people have been rescued, said Abdul Basir Salangi, governor of Parwan province.
UPDATE: 2/10/2010: Authorities recovered more than 150 bodies Wednesday from a mountain pass in northern Afghanistan that was struck by a series of avalanches. More than 100 others were wounded and 13 vehicles remained buried under snow three days after the avalanches hit the Salang Pass on Monday, the country's disaster management agency said.
KABUL, Afghanistan – At least 60 people were killed and 60 others injured in an avalanche in a key tunnel in the Hindu Kush mountains connecting northern and southern Afghanistan, an Afghani official said.
More than 40 vehicles have been buried since the avalanche happened Monday morning in the southern part of the Salang Tunnel, said Abdul Matin Adrak, Afghanistan's director of disaster management.
The International Security Assistance Force was attempting to fly victims out in helicopters to hospitals and other safe places, Adrak said. The Afghan National Army, police, Ministry of Health and disaster department staffs are
all working to clear roads and rescue victims still buried, he said.
omg this is so sad
for the first time when Salang tunnel (high way) was constrcuting, US on that time advised to construct this tunnel under the mountain fully so it would be long and safe, BUT Russian on that time did not accept and they build it on the almost top of the mountains.
actually it was not avalanches, it was storm that threw the small vehicles into the valley from the road, while the buses , the the whindshield (mirror) was broke, so passengers freezed.
most of the drivers are drunk in the north of Afghanistan.
Rarely have I seen the entire scope of America's thoughts captured in one comment string. To those of you who do not appreciate the struggle of the Afghan people for the chance to live in peace, I can only pray that you will never experience 30 years of continuous warfare. To those of you who have survived the Salang tunnel (scary even on a good day) I congratulate you for commenting on this tragedy. To those who have never been to Afghanistan or perhaps never even left the USA, reading the recommended books about Afghanistan is a good place to start your inquiry into this most fascinating area of the world. We can all pray for the families of those who were lost in this event. The victims themselves are now safely in God's hands.
God bless those innocent Afghans whose lives were lost. SHAME on some of you pieces of scum for your RACIST and HATEFUL remarks.
I have never till now responded to a blog, always held my tongue on expressing my world views and I am middle-aged/native american and was raised to believe that when I am truely old, I might make a contribution, but for now..I am an observer. Today, I must comment! Human life (ALL) is blessed and precious and the hateful comments are awful to read! I saw "Untraceable" this weekend and understand fully the power of the WWWeb! And guess what? I work for the US Government! Has any body out there read 'Kite Runner' or 'A Thousand Splendid Suns'? Fear of cultures and peoples we do not know will bring us all down! Oh yah, did I mention I'm Native American? Critics, expand your hearts!!!!
what I know about afghanistan and its people for the past almost 32 years, its making me cry, those poor people have been used abused re-used and re-abused by the world community and their proxy games, like between ussr and usa and the british. afghanistan have been the battle ground for others. But I will promise this afghanistan one day will out live out power all the other countries. and furthermore every dog has his day.
Do you honestly believe that people who feel pity on the people who died in Afghanistan are unAmerican? Not everyone in the middle east is part of Al Queda and not every Muslim is a terrorist. My thoughts and prayers go out to these peoples families, hopefully there aren't too many of them buried and suffering right now.
Any American Troops?
my friend ferida was one of the casualties of the avalanche she was a co-worker and a very sweet and generous person and we will all miss her very deeply , there is now something missing in our lives we will always love you and we will never forget you
If I could give one gift to the world, it would be EMPATHY ! Until we can "walk a mile in someone else's shoes" we will continue to have wars. Listen kids, wars are about money and power, not freedom. I am patriotic. I don't want one person killed for money and power. I love my country, but I wish we spent money on schools to educate, instead of kill people! Maybe we wouldn't have so many ignorant people in the world! Also you don't need to be religious to be spiritual. My father never went to church and he was one of the nicest people I have ever known. He followed the Golden Rule. Has anyone read War at the Top of the World, Kite Runner or 1000 Splendid Suns? I recommend all of them. I read Three Cups of Tea and am waiting for Stones Into Schools. Let us start caring for and respecting others. My sincerest sympathy to the Afghan People, especially to the grandmothers. Granny
Pls separate your politics from reality. Innocent Afghans perished on a terrible road; i know as i have been on it. Spare a thought for the dead be they americans, africans or afghans.I worked in Mazar-I-Sharif with the UN and have used this road before.
Alusine Jalloh, Freetown, Sierra Leone
Outstanding comment, the most insightful on the blog. Being in the service does change perspectives and tempers opinions. We could use more of it as a nation. USAF Veteran
wow... just wow...
A natural disaster inany context is a tragedy. After being without power for 5 days under 20 inches of snow and 8 more today, I have plenty of sympathy for those who are under duress. I know that many family are praying for loved ones, but u must realize that those people who volunteered their service in the further protection of the USA should not be either idolised or regretted. Everyone must do what they think is in the right.
I worked in Mazar-I-Sharif with the UN and have used this road before. I really feel for the people caught in this tragedy.My heart goes out to the Afghan people. My condolences to a warm and wonderful people. May Allah have mercy on the souls of the departed.
Alusine Jalloh, Freetown, Sierra Leone
By the way, to the ignorant who said the victims were probably Taliban, this is a Taliban-free area of admirers and followers of Masood, who was killed by Taliban and Al Qaida hours before 9/11. Afghan police checkpoints abound in these areas. Not only are the Taliban not welcome in these parts, but every truck driver carries a photo of Masood on their windshields to show allegiance. And think what those truck drivers are carrying then, and for who...
I have seen those roads...trust me, this does more damage than good to coalition forces.
I'm US service member. I went through the Salang pass about a year ago and I was very thankful to be able to see the countryside of Afghanistan and admire its beauty. My condolences to all the families who lost loved ones. This pass is a lifeline to Afghanistan and to coalition soldiers and after years of neglect will see investment once again, soon.
I am also ashamed of my fellow soldiers here hating this country and giving a bad image. Fellows, you represent higher ideals. You have come to this parts of the world for months and a few years staying inside 4 walls and driving in heavy armor and you think this gives you the right to call it hell-hole. You are lucky that your soul landed in America when you were born, but put yourself in the place of the kids you gave candy to. What would you do, what would your options have been?
I met many, many Afghans and I am proud to tell a different story to MY fellow Americans. Afghans are great people with great hopes, and unlike most Iraqis, Afghans want us there because we represent opportunity and a freedom they did not have. I did not see war where I went in Afghanistan, I saw kids playing with kits, girls going to school, and people rebuilding. That is why we are there for the long haul, and I do believe that in end, what remains is the memory of the boys and girls across the fence of Bagram who received candy from a US soldier.
Like the story of candy bombers and Italian eating bread after many many months, I went to Afghanistan believing in a greater good, and returned happy for making a difference.
"i just came back from that hell hole, i hope eventually they just nuke the whole middle east."
Reading some of the comments on here lowers my faith in humanity. Do some people really think this way or are they just trying to sound tough? I also just came back from there and I think it is obvious that you have never even spoken to an Afghan, nor did you ever leave your FOB. How was it a hell hole, fobbit, was the Starbucks on your FOB not up to par? Did they not have enough flavors of ice cream in the DFAC?
For someone that is actually here in Afghanistan and a member of the Armed Forces, I have to say that it is a tragedy anytime innocent people are injured/killed in an accident, regardless of whether we are in a conflict where the accident occured. Some of these comments are valid but some could have been kept to yourselves.
Mark and Dale,
Also, Mortenson's latest, Stones for Schools, is all about Afganistan, and even more riveting and informative than his first book. I can't imagine those negative comments is one has read either of these books. Even the US Army is learning from him.
Nannyshouse – you are disgusting and you don't realize your grandson is being taken advantage of by the Imperialists – both Dems and Reps. Clinton sold out the Dems to the Banksters and the MI Complex. Reps were already bought and paid for, Patriotic is fine but stupid is not. We need more true patriots that stand up against the tyranny that has taken over THIS country.
Surprised GWB was not blamed for this
Life is presious to any human being on the planet earth. May God have mercy on their souls.
I have been back and forth to Afghanistan since 2002. The Afghan People are the most generous and protective peolpe in the world! I am not Military. I am an American private business man who stayed with general public Afghans in their homes. Ate with them traveled throughout Afghanistan, slept out under the stars in the Hindu Kush and traveled the Salang Highway/Tunnel several times. During the harsh winter months, it was very difficult to navigate with the landmine markers scattered along the highway way but the Afghan people always got us to our destinations fearlessly and unselfishly! I am very sorry to hear about the avalanche and loss of life! Afghanistan is a very beautiful country. Most soldiers are not able to move about like I did. Many of the young soldiers will ask me if I am afraid to stay there. I tell them they are truly missing out understanding Afghanistan. The Afghans I met and know will protect Americans regardless. They know there is a better way of life and they will do anything to try and exemplify our culture and provide for their families and future ther way we are able to.
I pray for the dead and hope the ones who survived will be found quickly. Take crae, Steve Hill
Having lived there for a couple years as a kid in the early 70's I always looked forward to trips up the Salang Pass. The tunnel at the summit was the highest traffic tunnel in the world, before losing that record to the Eisenhower Tunnel west of Denver, CO. The south side of the pass had a large number of snow avalanche shelters along the road, to include a long one before the tunnel entrance. These probably by now have seen better days. Not sure what's been done to repair/replace since then, obviously. My heart goes out to all those injured or lost in this situation.
A4's comment is cruel and ignorant because no where in the article did it say that those killed were taliban or alqaeda, therefore assuming that they are alqeada or taliban simply because the are Afghani is ignorant and racist.
My condolenes and hope things get better over there
My heart goes out to all who have lost loved ones in a natural disaster. I can not even imagine the devastation of these families. However, I am also saddened that people would say that they are not proud to be an American because of the comments of others. That is the best part of being an American, having the Freedom of Speech, the freedom to form an opinion that may not be the same as the "norm". Shame on you for putting your country down, because you do not agree with someone that you do not even know. America is not perfect, nor is any other country, but it is people that make wreckless and myopic comments that you should be ashamed of, not a country or all of its people.
That was hands down one of the stupidest things I have ever seen written on CNN, and lord knows there is a lot of stupid stuff that gets posted here. Yes, the corrupt politicians and the coalition forces are responsible for an avalanche.
God have mercy on those still trapped, I hope for their safe return to their families.
dear 4h, for you to say that IS ignorant. for how many people are in the population of afghanistan compared to the number of people who actuall are involved with Al Qaeda is ridiculous. everyone who commented this saying things like, 'let's nuke the whole place' are a bunch of ignorant americans who think their lives are more valuable then anything else in the world. there are people who are suffering in that country and that is we are supposedly there so if you are going to act like an idiot keep it to yourself so everyone wont know you are.
to Mark perhaps you should actually read what a4h wrote. I too wish that they were the bad guys. Too many bleeding heart liberals in this world!!!!!!!
What a terrible tragedy, and I'm sure terrifying for those involved. Condolences and prayers for the dead. An avalance is a brutal force that carries little mercy. My brother in law was killed by one in BC two years ago. Strength to the survivors that must now deal with loss of loved ones and injuries.
A4H and those backing his cruel and inhumane view are no different from Osama bin Laden and such terrorists who wish for innocent American civilians to be killed just because they see them as enemy. That you 'won't lose a sleep' and are indifferent to the killing and suffering of hundreds of innocent men, women and children under snow show you're as extremist as those you so much despise, or pathetically ignorant at least. Each country on the planet has its own share of ignorant, extremist, cruel people, so I won't blame America in general because of you – many messages of sympathy and condolences by others here are a testimony to the fact. Shame on you!
I pray all be found and my prayers go out for all who have lost loved ones.
i have been there several times, i live now in the netherland but my parents are in norht of afghanistan mazar-i-sharif. they wanted to travel from mazar to kabul at that time this happend. they canceld this travel. i was last summer in afghanistan and traveld several times from mazar to kabul via salang pass. really dangerious ways! taliban cant use this way to travel with cars (peacefull area) . all the time we afghans suffer i dont know why!
Nannyshouse I understand your pride in your grandson. As a Marine Corps Veteran I am proud of all our troops. I have a young friend who is also a Marine Corps Veteran. He has served 2 tours in Iraq and 1 in Afghanistan but he tells me that the duty that affected him the most deeply was tsunami relief in 2005. He tells me that witnessing the depth of tragedy caused by this natural disaster changed his view of the world and his definition of United States Marine. He accepts that war will continue to be necessary as long as there are people who wish to force their belief system on others. He understands (as I do) that Marines will continue to place their lives on the line for their country, innocents of all nationalities and for their brothers and sisters in arms but he also understands as I do the depth of a true warrior's heart. Today this young man is working for a humanitarian aid organization in Haiti and his heart goes out to the Afghan people affected by this natural disaster. In an instant earth, sky, sea can change the lives of an entire population and there is no terrorist organization or political party to blame. I am proud to have been a United States Marine and because of my right to claim that title I know that Marines are more than just fighting men and women.
There is snow in Afghanistan?
I think it is sad how F-ing stupid americans are in general. All these, except a few, represent the America that I am ashamed of. The heartless comments are pathetic but are expected from the "Sarah Palin lovin religious right got my head so far up my ass all I see is mud" type of people.
You are all just so ignorant and white and stupid and ignorant, (did I say that)
Here is my advice!
Go on a trip outside your whitebread christian gated community and see how 95% of the world lives. Then come tell me about how compassionate your GOD is....
PLEASE! PULL YOUR HEAD OUT!
Bagram – The Government of Afghanistan and the Parwan Provincial leadership is coordinating a rapid, admirable job alieviating the suffering caused by these very tragic conditions. Governor Salangi of Parwan, Maulana the Parwan CoP and LTG Rajab from the ANA have been in front, supported by thier staffs, Kabul and Coalition Forces, and done a lion's share of work. As of today, hundreds of Afghans have been evacuated to a combination of Kabul, Charikar and to the Coalition base at Bagram Airfield. Some by Coalition helicopters, many by the ANA and ANP and a great number by other private Afghan citizens. There has been a close working relationship between all parties and I for one have been awed at the wonderful, generous spirit exhibited by the Afghan people and leadership in the face of this act of nature. Well done, stay after it.
Paul Hardy: Thanks for the update.
A4H made a comment that I think was taken way out of context. We may remember that old quandry about the bomb shelter built for 7 when 10 people show up and you have to pick which 3 do not get in based on things like age, sex, education, skills. If only some can be saved, who should die. If there is a car accident with a 15 year old, 45 year old and a 75 year old and one DOES die, would you hope that it is a particular one instead of the other two? Of course we wish that no one dies before their time but sometimes we have a wish that it be one person before others if a death does occur.
fellas, sitting Cozy and warm huh, and critizing each other, instead, take a moment and raise your hands and pray May God reunite those stuck in Salang Tunnel with their loved one; Ameen.
The avalanche was snow. Many of the dead and dying are children and foreigners traveling in the region. Our base here has set up a temporary mortuary and the gym converted to house overflow from the hospital. Today more will be flown in. These are very sad days in the Hindu Kush mountains of Afghanistan
My Grandson is a United States MARINE and he's In Afghanstan, he's also been to Iraq and he's only 24 years old fighting for your's and My freedom ! if you fell so bad about this terrible event maybe you should go back and carry and M16 ..everday ,not have Food to eat or a warm place to sleep with out a Guard watching out for you ....and oh by the way if your SICKEN TO BE AN AMERICAN ...THEN PLEASE LET THIS AMERICAN BE THE FIRST ONE TO ASK YOU TO GET THE HELL OUT OF OUR COUNTRY ...
Thanks for your time
AKA NANNY of one AWESOME MARINE
My sincerest condolences to the families of the victims. Any loss of human lives is sad and in this case a tragedy. An avalanche usually involves snow, rocks and dirt is called a landslide.
I love how ignorant people can be. If you want to talk about how good and great these people are, maybe you should try going over there and seeing good and great they are when they try to blow you up because you havent given the enough. and as for those of you that say that you are ashamed to be Americans because of the posts you see on here, get the hell out of here then. There is plenty of room in Afghanistan, and there are plenty of people in other countries that would like to be here.
For someone who spent almost 2 years in the country I can say this. The loss of any innocent human life is always a tragedy, whether it be due to a natural disaster or the on going combat operations in that country, I saw it to many times while I was there where the innocents were killed for no reason. However, I must agree with the above post of hoping it was Taliban or Al'Queda members that were killed instead of the innocent people, and no I would not lose sleep as I know they are responsible for the death of more innocent Afghans that any natural disaster, Of course that is only wishful thinking, and I really feel that anyone who can sympathize for members of an organization that has been responsible for the death of thousands of innocent Afghans, Americans, and any other country had better stop and think about exactly who they really are. It is true that the majority of the people of Afghanistan are humble and caring people but I feel no disgrace of wishing the death of those who would stop at nothing to kill innocent people simply because they do not follow their extremist ideals. As someone who does not believe in but can respect organized religion I do not agree that anything is "Christian Like" or "Muslim Like", and simply understand that we are all human regardless of which God or Prophet you believe in, and yes the death of any innocent human is always tragic. The death of those who believe it is ok to kill innocent people, even those of the same nationality or religion because it is "Gods will", is justified in my opinion. Also, one more thing since I am on a rant, even though I agree with those who claim that the Afghans and Pakistanis are misunderstood by most Americans based on their faith, I don't believe anyone came claim to know and understand the true people of that region simply because they read a book "Three cups of tea". Go there and experience it first hand before you claim to be an expert. I can grieve for the families of the innocent who died in this disaster, but never for those who tried to take my life on multiple occassions, and who took the lives of many of mine and others family and friends.
I used to live in Afghanistan. The people really are great. If they would only stop killing each other. I think the biggest problem is the tribal mentality of the people. They have such unwavering loyalty to their clan leader for no reason other than that he is the leader of their clan and they are obligated to follow him, to death if necessary. If the Afghanistanis would just tell these leaders (often warlords) "NO!" Afghanistan could be a wonderful place to live.
How many billions do we send for projects around the world and nobody from the US even checks to see if these things get completed and are safe. You see it here and in Haiti where we have sent a ton of money.
Three cups of tea is about Pakistanis, not Afghans. Greg does most of his work, which is great work, and yes I believe what he started is something that can only be praised highly, is in Pakistan, the other side of the Durran line.
It's sad and not Christian like, to hope people would die from whatever violenence and whatever background. I believe that is the point Mark wants to make. It's ignorant and evil to wish for anybody to die violently.
Let they rest in peace...
damn.. i hope no hindu kush plants were harmed either. Any loss of life is tragic.
i just came back from that hell hole, i hope eventually they just nuke the whole middle east.
Peace on Earth, God's will to men, no of them will live their dreams again; please end the war. I'll never see them again, losing life is not a rite or passage it is like watching your family go away because you've lost your mind because they have lost their father and their son was crushed by an 80 pound rock and has left the hell on the Earth. I pray the war ends everyday, but I can't end it any way because I am alone.
Well said Pastor, compassion and understanding are the problem in this country. Americans are hated because we are just as extreme as the terrorists. This war will never end through brute force. It will end when BOTH sides are able to realize that we can live with and respect one another. There will always be crazies that need a thrashing but to live by example and turn the other cheek speaks much louder than the missles we rain down. I'm sure that people will call me stupid for saying that but how about you go over there away from your families and see what I'm talking about! God bless America and the Afghan people and may he comfort the families of those lost.
those who died from the avalanch i fell really sorry for there family members i'm sure that they were great people
my God that horrible disaster, I'm sorry for all the victims ...
The deaths of anyone in accidents regardless of religion is a cause of saddness by children, wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, and friends. These are souls who hurt and cry, who laugh and sing, and who did not deserve to die just because they were in an unsafe environment. If Americans would learn to be sympathetic and have compassion, regardless of the radical Muslims who want to kill everyone, we would learn there are a lot of loving and kind people in the world. Peace to all who love liberty and who love those who have suffered loss due to unfortunate accidents.
I have very fond memories of skiing out a trapdoor in that tunnel–a beautiful and treacherous pass. My heart goes out to the victims and their families.
why are you griping about everything, why don't you first take an english class so you can understand what people are actually talking about
Being an Afghan and reading some of these comments it shows how ignorant some of us are. People died due to avalanche on Salang highway in Afghanistan, it is one of the roughest route in winter. It is an highway that is mostly used by general population. Just because some people died in a highway accident in Afghanistan and we are fighting a war does not mean they are terroist or taliban you ignorants. Please please read and learn before making any dumb comment in the future.
Mark, A4H did not say he hoped they were Afghans. He said he hopes they were Al Qaeda. Since you like to read, maybe you should read his post fully before trying to make him feel small. He said absolutely nothing about what most Afghans are really like.
4H said "I hope those who died are Al Qaeda members" no where in his post did he say Afghans. So before you jump down someone’s throat you may want to read the person's post again.
I too would not lose sleep over the deaths of those who are at war with the US and if there are those civilians who are traveling with Al Qaeda as a means to help protect them from our assault then they too would not gain any sympathy if they perish.
I can just about guarantee that if we were the ones down there under all that snow that Al Qaeda would not shed one tear.
Your misguided sympathy for the enemy should be focused towards the men and women who are risking their lives to give the greater population of Afghanistan democracy and freedom from tyranny and forced religious doctrine that is against the same freedoms we enjoy here in the United States.
A4H said "I hope those who died are Al Qeada members".....how is that ignorant or cruel? Al Qeada is respononsible for thousands of innocent american deaths. To hope that 40 people who are dead are members of a terrorist organization is not ignorant or cruel. Sadly, mojolakejakes is on point, drunken drivers never get killed in the accident; is that ignorant as well Mark?
How long can people live under dirt? Will the rescue take long?
As a person who has been in Afghanistan many times and experienced the kindness and generosity of the Afghan people I am completely shocked at the postings i see here. What kind of people are you to make jokes or bring your political agenda into a discussion of a terrible accident. You make me sick and ashamed to be an American. I think it would do you well to have to go there and live in poverty with few modern conveniences in such a harsh environment before you sit back on your computers and spew vitrolic diatribe about something you know nothing about.
Yes, anyone who is truly interested in the situation in Afghanistan / Pakistan should read "Three Cups of Tea." If not, please do not consider yourself educated on the subject because you are not.
Keith Peters- You should visit the hindu kush. You wouldn't be able to wrap your little mind around the beauty that Afghanistan contains. The landscape, the people, the hope, the despair.
Was this an avalanche of rocks and dirt, or snow and ice? It's not clear.
Innocent are killed but the blame rests squarely on corrupt politicians and their foreign supporters who don't give a damn about safety measures in such hazardous terrain . The Taliban don't drive cars thru the tunnnel. Most killed may be politicians and those who became rich overnight like panjsheri.
to a 4h
instead of posting ignorant and cruel comments, take yourself to the libary and check out Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and learn what most Afghans are really like.
A4H: the drunk driver never gets killed in the accident.
Lord, God, Have mercy on us all.
I hope those who died are Al Qeada members, I wouldn't lose a sleep over it.
Damn This sho is sad, my cousin is in afghanistan, makes me wonder if he's alrite!
My condulenceas for all the loss...I wish the familys of these victimis lots of strenght.
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