At least 280 people have been killed and hundreds more injured after a powerful earthquake hit southeastern Afghanistan overnight, the country’s state-run Bakhtar News Agency reported.
The casualties are from “four districts of Paktika province that was hit by a powerful earthquake,” Bilal Karimi, a spokesman for the country’s Taliban government said over the phone, adding that casualties and damage were also reported in nearby Khost and Nangahar provinces that both border Pakistan.
Karimi urged international aid agencies to help rescue those still trapped in the rubble and ruined homes after the 6.1 magnitude temblor hit at about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Bakhtar said on Twitter that at least 600 people had been reported injured so far, citing unnamed local government officials. The death toll is expected to rise, it reported.
The epicentre of the earthquake was about 44 kilometres (27 miles) from the city of Khost, near the Pakistani border, at a depth of 51 kilometres, the US Geological Survey said.
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