130 dead, houses reduced to rubble as 6.1 earthquake hits Afghanistan

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Afghanistan earthquake: Deaths were also reported in Nangarhar and Khost, an official said.

Kabul:

A 6.1 magnitude earthquake killed at least 130 people in Afghanistan early Wednesday, an official said, adding that at least 250 people had been injured and that checks were underway to see if the number of casualties could increase.

The quake struck about 44 km (27 miles) from the town of Khost, near the Pakistani border, at a depth of 51 km, the US Geological Survey said.

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“Strong and long tremors,” a resident of the Afghan capital, Kabul, posted on the website of the European Mediterranean Seismological Center (EMSC).

“It was loud,” said a resident of the city of Peshawar in northwestern Pakistan.

Tremors were felt by around 119 million people in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India, the EMSC said on Twitter.

Photographs on Afghan media showed houses reduced to rubble.

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The head of the Taliban administration’s natural disaster ministry, Mohammad Nassim Haqqani, said the majority of the deaths occurred in Paktika province, 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 underway to determine if there were other victims.

No damage or casualties were immediately reported in Pakistan.

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The disaster comes as Afghanistan has been going through a severe economic crisis since the Taliban seized power in August as US-led international forces withdrew after two decades of war.

In response to the Taliban takeover, many governments imposed sanctions on the Afghan banking sector and cut billions of dollars in development aid.

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