Afghan officials say they fear more than 64 people may have been killed by a massive avalanche along a key northern road.

Interior Minister Hanif Atmar said Tuesday that rescuers have already recovered 24 bodies from the Salang Pass, but they fear that more than 40 others still trapped have already died.

Hundreds of people have been rescued, but the 3,400-meter-high mountain pass, as well as a nearby tunnel, remain blocked.

Local officials said days of heavy snow led to avalanches that buried part of the mountain pass that connects Kabul to the northern city Mazar-i-Sharif.

President Hamid Karzai has released a statement expressing condolences for the victims and ordered Afghan public works officials to assist the rescue effort.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.