Death toll from powerful earthquake in Afghanistan rises to 920

AAt least 920 people have been killed and hundreds more injured after a powerful earthquake that struck southeastern Afghanistan overnight, a top official with the country’s Disaster Management Authority said.

The eastern province of Paktika was hardest hit, Sharafuddin Muslim, the agency’s deputy state minister, said, adding that at least 600 people have been injured so far. Helicopters and rescue teams have been dispatched to the affected areas, he added.

Casualties and damage have also been reported in the nearby provinces of Khost and Nangahar, both of which border Pakistan, Taliban spokesman Bilal Karimi said.

Karimi urged international aid agencies to help rescue those still trapped in the rubble and destroyed homes after the earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale at about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The quake’s epicenter was about 44 kilometers (27 miles) from the city of Khost, near the Pakistani border, at a depth of 51 kilometers, the US Geological Survey said.

— With the help of Jane Pong.

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