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At Least 14 Killed In Northern Afghanistan Avalanche

At least 14 people were killed after an avalanche hit a gold mine in a remote area of northern Afghanistan controlled by the Taliban, officials said on March 5.

Farid Nekfar, who heads the disaster management department of Afghanistan's Badakhshan Province, said efforts were ongoing to recover at least two bodies after the avalanche that occurred in the afternoon on March 4.

"We are in contact with the locals and emergency teams. So far 12 dead bodies have been recovered from under the avalanche," Nekfar said. "Unfortunately the area is under the control of the militants."

Nek Muhammad Nazari, a spokesman for Badakhshan's governor, gave a slightly higher toll, saying 15 people had been killed and five more were wounded in the avalanche in the Zarandab village of the province's Raghistan district.

Avalanches and flash floods often hit mountainous areas of Afghanistan when the snow melts in the spring and summer.

More than 50 percent of Afghanistan is believed to be under the direct control or influence of the Taliban.

Based on reporting by AFP and