An Afghan official says the death toll from a massive avalanche in a valley near the capital Kabul is rising as rescue teams gain access to villages that have been buried beneath deep snow for days. Mohammad Aslam Syas, deputy chief of the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority, says 186 people have been confirmed dead in the hard-hit Panjshir Province, 100 kilometers (60 miles) northeast of Kabul. Machinery has been moved into the Panjshir Valley to help clear roads buried beneath at least 1 meter (3 feet) of snow since early this week. Syas says army helicopters on Saturday continued to distribute food and other essentials to villages cut off for days. Severe weather has affected at least 18 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces. Nationwide, well over 200 people have died.