At least 2 dead, dozens trapped in Pakistan-Afghanistan landslide that buried trucks on major border road

Drivers and their assistants were cooking meals on gas stoves ahead of a day of fasting during the holy month of Ramadan

By Agencies

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Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Published: Tue 18 Apr 2023, 12:08 PM

A landslide during a thunder and lightning storm on the main road through northwest Pakistan's Khyber Pass buried more than 20 trucks on Tuesday, killing at least two people, with dozens more feared trapped, Reuters said.

"Twenty to twenty-five containers are buried in the wreckage," Abdul Nasir Khan, deputy commissioner of the Khyber district, told Reuters. "The wreckage is quite extensive and our rescue operation is continuing with heavy machinery."

He said two Afghan citizens had been killed, and authorities were trying to recover the bodies. Three other people had been taken to hospital and the number of casualties could rise, he added.

The landslide struck Torkham border post, the busiest and most important transit point for trade between the two countries, as more than 120 trucks were waiting to cross.

Bilal Faizi, a spokesman for the Rescue 1122 emergency service, said fires broke out following the landslide, the brunt of which struck about 120 metres (130 yards) from the main border crossing, reported AFP.

Drivers and their assistants were cooking pre-dawn meals on gas stoves ahead of a day of fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.

The cause of the landslide was not immediately clear, but one official said heavy machinery had been in use for months on an expansion project in the hills surrounding the border post.

Torrential overnight rain may also have contributed, said the official, Ali Raza.

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