Page last updated at 15:28 GMT, Monday, 17 May 2010 16:28 UK

Afghan passenger plane crashes near Salang Pass


An Afghan passenger plane with 44 people on board has crashed between Kunduz and Kabul, officials say.

The Pamir Airways plane is thought to have gone down near the Salang Pass, a mountainous area about 60 miles (100km) north of the capital, Kabul.

The plane had been missing since early morning. Officials said six foreigners were on board, including three Britons.

Search teams trying to reach the crash site, including US and Nato forces, are being hampered by poor weather.

"I can confirm that an aircraft carrying 38 passengers plus five crew has crashed somewhere in Salang Pass," Interior Ministry spokesman Zemarai Bashary said.

Dense fog

Aircraft had been sent to help find the plane but poor weather conditions was making progress difficult, a Nato statement said.

"All eyes were searching for the plane but the fog was so bad you couldn't tell where the mountain began and the fog ended," a Nato spokesman quoted by the Press Association news agency said.

The Salang Pass is a major route through the Hindu Kush mountains connecting the capital, Kabul, to the north of the country.

Pamir Airways is one of Afghanistan's private carriers and operates mainly domestic routes across the country.

The BBC's Mark Dummett in Kabul says it is far too early to predict what might have caused the crash, but there is bad weather over Kabul and in the surrounding areas.

In 2005 an Afghan airliner crashed in the Band-e-Ghazi area east of Kabul. More than 100 people were killed.

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