Hundreds killed and scores wounded in Afghan earthquake

A powerful earthquake has killed at least 300 people and left many more injured in Afghanistan, according to the country’s supreme leader.

Images show landslides and ruined mud-built homes in eastern Paktika province, where rescuers are scrambling to treat the injured.

In remote areas, helicopters have been ferrying victims to hospitals.

Taliban leader Hibatullah Akhundzada said hundreds of houses were destroyed and the death toll was likely to rise.

“Unfortunately 300 civilians have been martyred and more than 500 injured,” he added.

Another Taliban official – deputy minister of disaster management – told a news conference that the death toll was as high as 920.

The quack struck about 44km from the south-eastern city of Khost shortly after 01:30 when many people were at home, asleep in their beds.

Earthquakes tend to cause significant damage in Afghanistan, where there are many rural areas where dwellings are unstable or poorly built.

Taliban officials called for aid agencies to rush to the affected areas in the nation’s east.

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