Dozens killed by flash flooding in Taliban-held area of Afghanistan
More than 100 Afghans are reported to have died after flash floods buried houses and residents under mud and debris.
Heavy rain led to the floods in the Kamdesh district of the mountainous Nuristan province, in an area held by Taliban militants fighting the government.
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahed said that 150 people had died in the northeastern province, although a spokesperson for Nuristan’s governor gave a death toll of over 60.
“Unfortunately half of a village, which had more than 100 houses, was washed away by a violent flood last night and sadly more than 100 people are dead or missing,” Mujahid told Reuters.
The Taliban say they have sent their own rescue crews to help, promising relief funds worth about $62,000 (£53,000) to aid the clean-up operations and support villagers affected by flooding, Associated Press reported.
However, it is unclear how well equipped they are to deal with the disaster and the Nuristan government has appealed to the Taliban to allow rescue teams to offer help.
In the Afghan capital Kabul, Ahmad Samim Azimi, spokesman for the disaster management ministry, said they have reports of at least 100 dead.
Flash floods are an annual occurrence in Afghanistan but they have become increasingly common, with widespread deforestation contributing to their impact.
The World Bank describes Afghanistan as “one of the most vulnerable nations to climate change impacts in the world” with experts predicting that events like flooding could worsen as global temperatures rise.
The country’s lack of preparedness for climate change has been compounded by long-running conflict and political turmoil.
Last week, senior diplomatic sources said talks to end the Afghan conflict were in danger of stalling because the Taliban are demanding that the Kabul government agree to terms which would mean surrendering power to the Islamist group.