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Officials: Afghan avalanches may have killed 70

KABUL — Officials say Afghan avalanches on a mountain pass north of Kabul may have killed up to 70 people as rescuers evacuated more than 400 injured.

Interior Minister Hanif Atmar said Tuesday that rescuers have already recovered 24 bodies but fear that more than 40 others have already died. Some 2,500 people have already been rescued from their snow-blocked vehicles, he said.

Afghan and coalition forces have evacuated about 430 injured, with 180 taken by coalition helicopters to Bagram Airbase for medical treatment, the Defense Ministry said. The 250 others were taken to hospitals nearby.

The avalanches struck Monday following heavy snow in the 12,000-foot Salang Pass that links the Afghan capital Kabul with the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif.