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Pakistani Authorities Release Names Of Soldiers Buried By Avalanche

  • RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal

The Siachen Glacier where the avalanche occurred is said to be the world's highest battlefield. (file photo)

The Siachen Glacier where the avalanche occurred is said to be the world's highest battlefield. (file photo)

Pakistan's military has released the names of the 124 servicemen and 11 civilians buried by a massive avalanche in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

The search was called off late on April 7 due to darkness and poor weather, but resumed early the next day.

The military has rescue teams with machinery and sniffer dogs at the site of the military camp, near the Siachen Glacier in the Gayari district of Kashmir.

Pakistan army spokesman, Major General Athar Abbas, told RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal on April 7 that some bodies had been recovered but would not give any casualty figures or comment if anyone had been rescued yet.

Abbas later said that the camp had been by covered by a pile of snow that measured "one kilometer by one kilometer" and was some 20 meters deep.

Pakistani authorities have set up help centers were relatives and friends of those who were at the camp can call for information or counseling.

Climate Claims More Lives Than Combat

The avalanche occurred in the eastern Karakoram branch of the Himalaya Mountains early on April 7.

India and Pakistan, who both claim the region, have stationed thousands of troops in the remote area. The troops brave viciously cold temperatures, altitude sickness, and high winds for months at a time.

Muslim-majority Kashmir has been at the center of hostilities between India and Pakistan and was the cause of two of their three wars since independence from British India in 1947.

Indian and Pakistani forces, estimated to number between 10,000 and 20,000 troops combined, have fought over the Siachen Glacier since 1984.

The Siachen Glacier is known as the world's highest battlefield, and soldiers have been deployed at elevations of up to 6,700 meters (22,000 feet).

Military experts say the inhospitable climate and avalanche-prone terrain have claimed more lives than combat.

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