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    Salang Pass reopens after 36 hours closure

    CHARIKAR (PAN): The Salang Pass, linking the capital Kabul with northern Afghanistan, on Tuesday reopened for traffic, 36 hours after a heavy snowstorm closed the key highway, officials said.

    Snowstorm threats had subsided and both sides of the tunnel had been cleared of snow, the Salang Pass maintenance commander, Gen. Abdul Rajab, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

    The passenger buses which were stopped for security reasons had been allowed to move through the mountainous pass. Heavy traffic would soon be allowed to resume their journey, he added. Eighteen avalanches have taken place so far, with efforts at removing snow ongoing.

    Naeemullah, the Charikar traffic department chief, confirmed the highway had reopened, saying loaded trucks would start their movement shortly.

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