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Hundreds of homes damaged in Afghanistan earthquake

A 6.3-magnitude earthquake shook the rural north of Afghanistan, with tremors reaching neighboring Pakistan and India. A pregnant woman was reported dead in Peshawar, with dozens more injured across the region.

The quake hit shortly before midnight local time on Friday, and lasted nearly a full minute, witnesses said.

The US Geological Survey located the epicenter of the 6.3-magnitude earthquake in the Hindu Kush Mountains, about 280 kilometers (174 miles) northeast of Kabul, near the Pakistani border.

At least 13 people were hurt in Afghanistan alone, according to the officials.

"Two hundred and forty-eight houses have been damaged, with 20 houses completely destroyed in Baharak and Zebak districts of Badakhshan," said Naveed Frotan, a spokesperson for governor of the northern Badakhshan province.

No casualties have been reported, mostly due to the fact that the tremors started slowly and allowed the people to escape outside, Frotan added.

In addition, a number of students were injured in a stampede while trying to leave a school building at Nangarhar University, in the east of the country, authorities said.

Peshawar woman killed

The quake originated in a mountainous area in the north which is remote and sparsely populated. The Taliban control parts of the affected region, making damage assessment difficult.

The earthquake also caused property damage in Pakistan (pictured above), with more than 30 people injured as houses and walls collapsed in Peshawar. A pregnant woman was killed when a boulder fell on her house, officials cited by the AFP news agency said.

The tremors reached as far away as the Indian capital New Delhi on Friday.

This is the second major earthquake to hit the region since October, when a 7.5-magnitude quake killed 400 people in Pakistan and Afghanistan. More than 18,000 buildings were damaged in the catastrophe.

dj/se (AFP, AP, dpa)

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