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    Snowfall leaves goods trucks stranded

    SAR-I-PUL CITY (PAN): Heavy snowfall has blocked a highway connecting the Balkh Aab district with Sar-i-Pul, the capital of northern Sari-i-Pul province, leaving stranded six trucks laden with relief items over the past two weeks, residents said on Wednesday.

    The residents said they had no option but to travel through neighbouring Balkh and Jawzjan provinces to reach Sar-i-Pul.  Haji Ghulam Sakhi, 60, said the truck he had hired to transfer wheat to Balkh Aab remained stuck in the Aab Kalan area over the past two weeks.

    Ghulam Akbar, 40, another resident, said they had to travel to Mazar-i-Sharif or Shiberghan for reaching home in Sar-i-Pul.

    Afghanistan Natural Disasters Management Authority (ANDMA) head for Sari-i-Pul, Syed Faizullah Sadat, acknowledged six trucks carrying relief for residents had been stranded between Balkh Aab and Sancharak districts.

    He said they had dispatched three snow-clearing machines to the area, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) had promised $120,000 for snow-clearing efforts this year.

    Public Works Director Eng. Hayatullah Sadat said up to 4 metres of snow had been recorded on the Balkhab-Sancharak road, where clearing operations had run into problems.