KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Cold weather and freezing temperatures that engulfed a remote northern province in Afghanistan this week killed at least 20 people, all of them internally displaced and including several children, Afghan officials said Friday.
The deaths occurred in Jawzjan province's district of Darzab, which has seen heavy snowfall, with half a meter, or almost two feet of snow on the ground, according to provincial police chief Rahmatullah Turkistani.
The area in the remote province, which borders Turkmenistan, has no electricity or medical facilities and the road linking it with the provincial capital of Shibirghan has been cut off by the Taliban. Authorities are waiting for the weather to clear up before delivering aid by air, said
Jawzjan governor, Lutfullah Azizi, said early reports indicate that at least five children were among those who died from the cold weather, adding that there are fears of a higher death toll. Azizi called on the local population to offer shelter to the displaced in Jawzjan, where up to 500 have sought refuge from fighting in nearby Sari Pul province, where the Taliban have increased their footprint in recent months.
Elsewhere, a roadside bombing on Friday in Jalalabad, the capital of eastern Nangarhar province, killed a policeman and wounded three civilians.
And the previous night, a mortar shell struck a weeding party in Laghman province, also in the country's east, killing a child and wounding six people, according to Sarhadi Zwak, the spokesman for the governor of Laghman.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for those attacks. The Afghan affiliate of the Islamic State group, which is fighting in Iraq and Syria, has emerged over the past two years and established a presence in parts of eastern Afghanistan, including Nangarhar.