Afghan rescuers search for survivors under threat of third landslide

Afghan police and villagers began a dangerous search for more than 2,000 people buried under a massive landslide in a remote mountainous region in the northeast on Saturday, amid concern the unstable hillside may cave in again.

The United Nations said at least 350 were killed, but officials fear that the toll will rise sharply as the poor village in Badakhshan province, bordering Tajikistan, is buried in up to 100 metres of mud.

Villagers and a few dozen police, equipped with only basic digging tools, started the search when daylight broke on Saturday.

"People from surrounding districts of Badakhshan and Takhar have rushed to the area to help with the rescue," Colonel Abdul Qadeer Sayad, a deputy police chief of Badakhshan, told Reuters. "So far today no bodies have been recovered."

Hundreds of mud brick homes were destroyed on Friday when two landslides, triggered by torrential rain, smashed into the Argo district village.

There is fear another section of the mountainside could collapse as rescuers try to reach those under the mud.