Hundreds dead as earthquake strikes Afghanistan



An earthquake of magnitude 6.1 has killed at least 130 people in Afghanistan, an official says – although state-run media put the death toll at more than 250.

A further 250 people have been reported injured, with checks still underway to see if fatalities are even higher.

The quake struck early on Wednesday (local time) about 44 kilometres from the city of Khost, near the Pakistani border, at a depth of 51 kilometres, the US Geological Survey said.

“Strong and long jolts,” a resident of the Afghan capital, Kabul, posted on a the website of the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre.

“It was strong,” said a resident of the north-western Pakistani city of Peshawar.

Shaking was felt by about 119 million people in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India, the EMSC said on Twitter.

Photographs on Afghan media showed houses reduced to rubble.

From Kabul, Al Jazeera’s Ali Latifi said authorities had said at least 100 houses had been destroyed.

“Authorities have brought in helicopters and calling for aid agencies to come in. But it’s a remote area and harder to reach,” he said.

The head of the Taliban administration’s natural disaster ministry, Mohammad Nassim Haqqani, said the majority of deaths were in the province of Paktika, where 100 people were killed and 250 injured.

Another 25 people were killed in Khost and five in Nangarhar province, he said, adding that investigations were being conducted to determine if there were more casualties.

There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties in Pakistan.

-with agencies

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