Salang tunnel to remain closed for 72 hoursBy Farid Tanha Feb 13, 2012 - 15:38
KABUL (PAN): The Salang highway, which connects the capital Kabul with northern provinces, would remain closed for another 72 hours due to an ongoing snowstorm on both sides of the tunnel, officials said on Monday.
The highway’s maintenance commander, Gen. Rajab Ali, told Pajhwok Afghan News the road was blocked on Sunday night when 18 avalanches hit the 2,676-mentre-long tunnel.
A snow-clearing operation could not be carried out as yet due to the snowstorm, he said, adding the highway would remain closed until Wednesday.
Jabalus Saraj district traffic officer, Naeemullah, said they had stopped vehicles since 8pm and the clearing work would take two more days.
“We returned to Charikar, the capital of Parwan, after being stopped in Jabalus Saraj district from travelling ahead,” said a commuter, Mohammad Tamim.
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.