Kabul: More than 950 people died in Afghanistan as an earthquake of 6.1 magnitude jolted the country in the early hours of Wednesday.
The US Geological Survey reported that the earthquake struck early on Wednesday morning local time, with its epicentre close to the town of Khost south of the capital, Kabul.
Early on Wednesday morning, Bakhtar News Agency reported that at least 255 people had lost their lives as a result of the earthquake. However, according to Afghan government sources, the number of total fatalities has now reached 955.
Rescue crews were being airlifted into the disaster zones.
#BREAKING: At least 255 people have been killed and 155 others injured in an earthquake in Barmala, Ziruk, Naka and Gayan districts of Paktika province on Tuesday night.
Local officials say the death toll could rise if the central government did not provide emergency help. pic.twitter.com/YlByfyArtG
— Bakhtar News Agency (@BakhtarNA) June 22, 2022
The disastrous news was also confirmed by the head of the Taliban administration’s natural disaster ministry, Mohammad Nassim Haqqani, who said the majority of deaths were in the province of Paktika, where 100 people were killed and 250 injured.
He added that investigations were being carried out to see if there were any other fatalities, adding that 25 more people had been killed in Khost and five in Nangarhar province.
The meteorological department in Pakistan also put the earthquake at a magnitude of 6.1. Tremors were felt in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, and elsewhere in the eastern Punjab province.
However, there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties in Pakistan.
The tragedy occurred as the US-led international forces hastily withdrew after two decades of war, and Afghanistan has been going through a severe economic crisis since the Taliban seized power in August.
Many governments put sanctions on Afghanistan’s banking industry and reduced development aid by billions of dollars in response to the Taliban takeover.