Dozens Killed in Afghanistan and Pakistan Avalanches

Afghanistan Winter & Schnee in Kabul | Schneeballschlacht

Mohammad Aseem, governor of the hard-hit northern province of Parwan, said 16 people had died in two districts. The snow has also blocked roads, making it hard for rescue workers to reach stricken villages.

Iceand snow shut Kabul airport.

He said a rescue team had been dispatched to the affected areas, but many roads have been blocked by snow.

Police and soldiers had to rescue around 250 cars and buses trapped by the snowstorm on the Kabul-Kandahar highway, said Jawid Salangi, a spokesman for Ghazni Province, where as much as 2 meters of new snow was reported.

Naweed Frotan, a spokesman for the provincial governor of Afghanistan's northern Badakhshan Province, said the government was working to reach 12 districts that had been completely cut off.

The central government in Afghanistan declared a nationwide holiday and Kabul's worldwide airport was closed.

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In Pakistan, 13 people were killed in an avalanche that buried five homes.

The region has been hit by heavy snowfall that is four feet (1.2 metres) deep in some places.

As many as 14 people are still believed to be trapped beneath collapsed houses, with the ongoing bad weather hindering rescue operations.

In the Khyber tribal district on the Afghan border in the north-west, three infant girls were killed and two women injured when the roof of their house collapsed in heavy rain.

Despite billions of dollars in worldwide aid after the ousting of the Taliban government in 2001, Afghanistan remains among the world's poorest nations.

There are fears the number of deaths will continue to rise as heavy snowfall is predicted for the coming days.