On Friday, a natural disaster that occurred in a remote village in northeast Afghanistan claimed the lives of upwards of hundreds of Afghan villagers, with some estimates even claiming thousands.
The landslide occurred around noon local time in the district of Argo in Badakhshan province. The province is in close proximity to Afghanistan’s Tajikistan, Pakistan, and China borders. The Argo district has an estimated population of 45,000.
The provincial governor of the region has estimated that 2,700 were killed in the natural disaster. In contrast, the United Nation’s Afghanistan mission spokesman reported 350 killed.
“On behalf of the American people, our thoughts are with the people of Afghanistan, who have experienced an awful tragedy,” United States President Barack Obama said. The President declared America is “ready to help our Afghan partners as they respond to this disaster.”
Badakhshan’s provincial governor said emergency crews are in the region but do not have the necessary tools to be effective. “It’s physically impossible right now, we don’t have enough shovels; we need more machinery,” he said.
Abdullah Homayun Dehqan, Badakshan’s director for national disaster response, said the landslide was set in motion due to heavy rain.
According to CNN, Badakhshan province was the one province that was not controlled by the Taliban when United States military forces arrived in Afghanistan in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. Its population consists mainly of ethnic Tajiks with small Uzbek, Kyrgyz, and Russian minorities.