© Bullit Marquez/Associated PressAfghan commuters walk after emerging from the Salang Tunnel in this 2002 file photo, taken two days after a similar avalanche killed four people.

Rescuers locate hundreds of injured in mountain pass.

Avalanches in a mountain pass north of Kabul have killed at least 60 people and injured more than 400, Afghan officials say.

The avalanches Monday followed heavy snow in the Salang Pass that links the Afghan capital with the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif.

Rescuers worked through the night to save 430 injured, with 180 taken by coalition helicopters to Bagram Airbase for medical treatment, the Defence Ministry said. The remaining 250 people were treated at a local hospital.

Interior Minister Hanif Atmar said Tuesday that rescuers have already recovered 24 bodies, but fear more than 40 others have already died. Some 2,500 people have already been rescued from their snow-blocked vehicles, he said.

President Hamid Karzai ordered the ministries of public works, defence and disaster control to "use all possible means to get the roads unblocked and rescue those trapped and stranded in the heavy snow."

About 100 Afghan soldiers were mobilized to join police and others in the rescue effort, along with four helicopters, several ambulances and several bulldozers, Defence Ministry spokesman Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi said.

"Unfortunately there were more avalanches this morning which made our work a little difficult, but we are trying to rescue people," he said.

Military helicopters were dropping food packages to people stuck on snow-blocked roads, Interior Ministry spokesman Zemerai Bashary said.