Magnitude 6.1 quake jolts Afghanistan and Pakistan

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People stand on stairs outside their offices after a severe earthquake is felt in Lahore, Pakistan, on Wednesday. — AP

KABUL/ ISLAMABAD — A 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck northeast Afghanistan on Wednesday, shaking large parts of the region and killing a child and injuring several people in neighboring Pakistan, officials said.

The US Geological Survey reported the quake’s center was in northeast Afghanistan near the Pakistan border, about 35 kilometers south of Jarm in the Hindu Kush region. It had a depth of 191.2 km.

TV footage showed people in Islamabad fleeing offices and schools in panic.

A baby girl was killed and 10 people were injured when roofs of mud-walled houses collapsed in the southwestern Pakistani province of Balochistan, a district deputy chief, Shabbir Megnal, said.

There were no immediate reports of any serious damage or casualties in Afghanistan.

Large parts of the region are seismically active because a tectonic plate, known as the Indian plate, is pushing north into the Eurasian plate.

Rana Hamid Ali, who works at a private company, said when the quake hit he started running toward the stairs instead of using the office elevator to get out of the building.

“We were doing routine work in our office when a strong earthquake suddenly rattled our building and we came down through the stairs, there was no time to wait for the elevator,” he said.

Another resident, Azeem Chaudhry, said his home’s walls swayed when the quake struck.

At least one girl was killed and eight others injured when roofs collapsed on mud-brick homes in the village of Lasbela in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province, said local government official Izat Nazir Baluch. He said authorities were still trying to assess the damage in the province.

Four schoolchildren were also injured when students stampeded out of their school in the northwestern city of Peshawar, but none was listed in serious condition, according to police and government officials.

The quake was felt in the Afghan capital Kabul, and an official said at least three people were injured when a wall collapsed in a village in northeastern Badakhshan province near the border with Pakistan.

Gul Mohammad Bedar, provincial deputy governor, said the temblor also caused cracks in the walls of a number of other houses there.

Bedar said officials were trying to collect more details from the remote villages in Jarm. Authorities faced problems getting details in the remote district where the Taliban have a strong presence.

Mohammad Mustafa, acting district governor in Jarm, said officials had no communications with about 52 villages, making it difficult to get details about quake-related damage.

The earthquake also was felt in the Indian capital New Delhi and the Indian Kashmir region. There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage to buildings there.

In New Delhi, Delhi Metro trains were halted briefly but services were not disrupted, said a Delhi Metro official.

A magnitude-7.6 quake in 2005 killed thousands of people in Pakistan and Kashmir. — Agencies


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