This winter, heavy snowfall and extreme cold have trapped most of the citizens of the country. Dozens of people have died and thousands of livestock have been destroyed in many of the colder provinces of Afghanistan. In addition, the roads in mountainous and difficult areas have been blocked, making it impossible to travel. Badakhshan, Takhar, and Baghlan in the northeastern region have been particularly hard hit. The roads in at least 10 districts of Badakhshan, including the capital city of Faizabad, have been blocked due to the snowfall, causing serious problems for the residents. The residents of Badakhshan are accusing the contractor company responsible for clearing the public highway of Badakhshan of not doing enough work and are demanding that the roads be reopened.
Fazel, a resident of Nesi Badakhshan district, told Hasht-e-Subh that the roads connecting the district to the capital and neighboring districts have been blocked by heavy snowfall for the past four days. He added, “Today, the roads have been closed for four days. On Saturday, we attempted to go to the city, but the road was closed due to snow and storm and we could not proceed. The snowfall was too heavy. We were a group of seven jeeps with passengers, but we had to return back to Faizabad city.”
Three residents of Raghistan district in Badakhshan province have died in the past four days due to heavy snowfall and avalanches. Local residents claim that the roads have remained closed to people due to the lack of proper equipment, poor management, and corruption in the contracted company responsible for clearing the roads.
Naeem (pseudonym), a resident of Sheki district in Badakhshan, reports that a group of passengers, including women, children, and patients, were travelling from Raghistan to Faizabad, but they were stuck in the snow, and are concerned about a potential disaster. Likewise, the residents of Yaftal district claim that the contract company responsible for clearing the Yaftal-Badakhshan highway is not doing their job. They are asking the Taliban and relief forces to increase the aid group’s activities and put an end to the corruption and neglect of the sub-contractors.
Valiullah, a resident of Ragh district, has said that all roads have been closed due to heavy snowfall since yesterday. Because his child is very ill with pneumonia, they had to go to the city hospital, but their car, along with many others, got stuck on the road halfway there. They had no choice but to turn back home. His child is in dire condition, and he fears that if the roads remain closed and they cannot get medicine, he will lose his child.
The cold weather has caused many of the people of Badakhshan, particularly children, to suffer from seasonal illnesses and be hospitalized. According to sources from the Badakhshan Public Health Department, 50% of the patients visiting the medical center daily are children with respiratory illnesses.
Local sources report that the road to Sheki, Nesi, Wakhan, Chakhan, Shaghnan, Ashkashim, Arghanchkhah, Raghistan and Shiv Badakhshan districts is currently blocked. Two weeks ago, an avalanche in the Shaki district of this province resulted in one death and blocked the roads of the district. Furthermore, during this month, the water supply networks in Badakhshan, Baghlan and Takhar provinces have ceased functioning, and a number of natural reservoirs and seas used as water sources have frozen, making their water unusable.
Kabir (pseudonym), a driver on the Raghistan–Faizabad route, reports that snowfall is still occurring in Raghistan and Darwaz, and the process of reopening the roads is very slowly. He states, “The roads have been closed for three days. Cars are currently stuck on the way to Raghistan. The rides have been able to keep themselves alive. Cars are stranded on the road to Raghistan. Vehicles that came from Yavan have reached the Sufa area and have not been able to leave, and some of them have sick people onboard.
The residents of Badakhshan districts have requested that the Taliban local administration and support groups make more efforts to reopen the roads. Meanwhile, Moezuddin Ahmadi, the head of Information and Culture of the Taliban in Badakhshan, reported that three people had died due to an avalanche in the province and three others were injured.
At least 40 people have died in Badakhshan due to cold and seasonal illnesses in the past month. Additionally, 34 people have died in Baghlan province from the cold, and approximately 30 homes have been destroyed in Takhar. Badakhshan, a mountainous province, experiences these natural events annually.