Picture used for illustrative purposes only.
Gulf Today Report
An earthquake struck eastern Afghanistan early Wednesday, killing at least 255 people, authorities said.
The quake struck about 44 km (27 miles) from the city of Khost, near the Pakistani border, at a depth of 51km, 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 (EMSC).
Information remained scarce on the magnitude 6 temblor that struck Paktika province, but it comes as the international community largely has left Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover of the country last year amid the chaotic withdrawal of the US military from the longest war in its history.
Key Ukrainian city under massive Russian bombardment
Saudi crown prince, Erdogan meet in Turkiye
That likely will complicate any relief efforts for this country of 38 million people.
The state-run Bakhtar news agency reported the death toll and said rescuers were arriving by helicopter. The news agency’s director-general, Abdul Wahid Rayan, wrote on Twitter that 90 houses have been destroyed in Paktika and dozens of people are believed trapped under the rubble.
Footage from Paktika province near the Pakistan border showed victims being carried into helicopters to be airlifted from the area. Images widely circulating online from the province showed destroyed stone houses, with residents picking through clay bricks and other rubble.
Bakhtar posted footage of a resident receiving IV fluids from a plastic chair outside the rubble of his home and others sprawled on gurneys.
The disaster comes as Afghanistan has been enduring a severe economic crisis since the Taliban took over August, as US-led international forces were withdrawing after two decades of war.