Tue, 06 Jun 2023

Islamabad [Pakistan], June 22 (ANI): Pakistan expressed condolences over the killing and damage to property caused by an earthquake in Afghanistan, according to the country's Foreign Ministry on Wednesday.

"Our authorities and institutions are working to extend required assistance to Afghanistan in coordination with their relevant institutions," the ministry said in a statement, cited by Xinhua News Agency.

More than 1,000 people were killed in Afghanistan after a powerful earthquake hit the country today in the early hours of this morning near the city of Khost in the southeastern part of the country. The most affected areas are in Spera District in Khost Province, and Barmala, Ziruk, Naka and Gayan districts in Paktika Province.

"We have over 1,000 dead and over 1,500 wounded. Many villages were destroyed," Amin Huzaifa, the head of the culture and information department of the Paktika province, told Sputnik.

According to the Foreign Ministry's statement, the people of Pakistan stand in strong solidarity with their Afghan brethren in this difficult time.

"We have no doubt that the brotherly Afghan people will overcome the effects of this natural calamity with their characteristic resilience," it added.

According to European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) the jolt was felt over a range of some 500 km by about 119 million people in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India.

According to local officials, helicopter and rescue teams have arrived in the area.Taliban spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid said that an emergency cabinet meeting was held today to discuss assistance for the people affected by the earthquake.

"In addition to helping the people affected by the earthquake, all relevant organizations were tasked to send rescue teams," he said.

Abdullah Abdullah, the former chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation offered condolences to the people affected by the earthquake.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said the epicentre was 44km from Khost city, and it measured 6.1 on the Richter scale. Search and rescue operations are ongoing and are being led by the de facto authorities.

The disaster comes as Afghanistan continues to struggle with a severe economic crisis since the Taliban took over, as US-led international forces withdrew following two decades of war. (ANI)

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