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    Salang highway reopens for traffic

    CHARIKAR (PAN): The Salang highway, which connects northern provinces with the capital Kabul, reopened for traffic after a day-long blockade by heavy snowfall on both sides of the busy pass, officials said on Saturday.

    A snowstorm that started on Friday night caused avalanches, which covered a large portion of the road, stranding hundreds of vehicles. But the route was reopened as a result of efforts by highway workers.

    The Salang commander, Gen. Rajab Ali, told Pajhwok Afghan News workers cleared around 22 avalanches on both sides of the 2,676-metre-long tunnel. Rajab asked all drivers to respect traffic rules and use tyre chains and heating systems.

    Jabalus Saraj district traffic officer, Naeemullah, said they had allowed passenger vehicles to ply to their destinations. More than a hundred trucks, still stranded in the district, would be permitted to move once the tunnel was completely cleared, he added.

    In winters, heavy snowfalls on the Salang pass lead to the death of many people every year. On Feb. 8, 2010 170 people died and 125 were injured as a result of heavy snowstorms and avalanches that hit the Russian-built tunnel.